Table of Contents

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.

Chapter 1: Gendered Poverty Across Space and Time: Introduction and Overview

Sylvia Chant

Subjects: development studies, development studies, family and gender policy, geography, human geography, research methods in geography, law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


1 Sylvia Chant The past 15 years have borne witness not only to the prioritisation of gender inequality and poverty as two of the most challenging barriers to social and economic justice in a globalising world, but also to their progressive intertwining. This is as much the case in policy as in academic arenas, and owes in no small measure to the significance formally attached to addressing women’s poverty by the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) launched in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW). Although for innumerable countries the historical record (albeit anecdotal rather than empirically or statistically rigorous) had suggested that women’s economic disadvantage was not new, impetus for the Beijing breakthrough was spawned by a novel globalised assertion: that women were as many as 70 per cent of the world’s poor. This categorical and seemingly bona fide statement (at least as intimated by its rapid adoption and circulation in the policy and academic literature) was usually accompanied by the ominous sub-clause that the level was likely to rise (see Chant, 2008; Moghadam, 1997).2 The BPFA’s ensuing exhortation to eliminate gender bias in poverty worldwide became something of a cause célèbre given prior tendencies for poverty analyses to deal in the currency of ‘sexless averages’ (Johnsson-Latham, 2004: 18), and for gender’s common neglect in anti-poverty programmes (UNDP, 2000: 3). Thanks in large measure to Beijing, the period from the mid-1990s onwards has seen an unprecedented number of countries introducing new programmes (or strengthening...