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 22: Urban Poverty and Gender in Advanced Economies: The Persistence of Feminised Disadvantage

Fran Tonkiss

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


Fran Tonkiss Recent debates over the ‘feminisation of poverty’ have been closely concerned with gender and poverty in developing economies, but the original analysis of this problem emerged in the United States (US) in the late 1970s, tracing a systematic and widening poverty gap over time between women and men in the world’s largest economy (Pearce, 1978). While the ‘feminisation of poverty’ has since travelled globally (see Chant, Chapter 15, this volume), my discussion considers the contemporary relevance of such an analysis to advanced economies, and to cities in particular. The rapid urbanisation of the global population, largely in developing contexts, has focused critical attention on poverty conditions in urbanising areas and among urbanising populations. However the link between cities and poverty has a long history, and helps structure gendered patterns of poverty in developed as well as in developing economies. Early debates over the feminisation of poverty in the US were soon qualified to examine the racial and urban dimensions of women’s poverty: in the 1980s Diana Pearce modified her original argument to write of the ‘feminisation of ghetto poverty’ (Pearce, 1983; see also Fuchs, 1986).1 While this shift emphasised the racialised nature of women’s poverty, it also highlighted the way that patterns of poverty played out spatially, notably in certain parts of North American cities. Women’s poverty was not only shaped along racial lines: it had a specific geography. This discussion considers current poverty conditions in advanced economies, examining recent data from Europe and North America. In...

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