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 81: Reducing Gender Inequalities in Poverty: Considering Gender-sensitive Social Programmes in Costa Rica

Monica Budowski and Laura Guzmán Stein

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


Monica Budowski and Laura Guzmán Stein Costa Rica is considered a rather universalistic egalitarian social state due to its positive indicators in gender equality, health and other areas (Budowski and Suter, 2009). Despite trends towards a more liberal model in economics, state organisations have not been dismantled and gender equality has remained on the agenda since 1994. However, women’s poverty rate is still higher than men’s (for example, 20.6 per cent in 2007 as compared to 15.1 per cent), and there is also evidence for some persistence in this gap. Whereas poverty rates for female-headed households decreased by 6 per cent from 1995 to 2003 (from 30.6 to 24.0 per cent), the corresponding decline for male-headed households was almost 10 per cent (from 26.3 to 16.7 per cent) (Gindling and Oviedo, 2008; see also Chant, 2007: ch. 6). Although well-educated, women have not been able to capitalise on their higher education, and the gender wage gap has increased. Women’s net participation rate in paid work rose from 32 per cent in 1995 to 37 per cent in 2004; in particular (low-income) women-headed households with young children have increasingly entered the labour force. Women’s work opportunities (more non-standard work and work in the informal sector) vary in quality when compared with men’s. Elements contributing to stagnating poverty rates are identified in the gendered division of labour, structural changes in the labour market and demographic changes (González et al., 2009). In light of the above, we review the innovative programmes...

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