The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

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.
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Chapter 3: Subjectivity, Sexuality and Social Inequalities

Henrietta L. Moore


Henrietta L. Moore Relationships between poverty and gender are complex. Poverty reduction programmes do not necessarily improve well-being or gender equity. Approaches designed to raise women’s incomes, arguing that they are often primarily responsible for maintaining households, have led in some instances to increased vulnerability for women who inhabit multiplex relationships embedded in long-run distributions of power, access and resources. What seems more certain is that changes in income, resources and bargaining strength intersect with new configurations of gendered identities. Research from both Africa and South Asia emphasises the impact of changing ideals of selfhood, masculinity, femininity and morality for individuals struggling to thrive in circumstances of want. Definitions of poverty have moved away from earlier models based on deficit towards multidimensional models that recognise the shifting character of poverty through historical time and incorporate the views of poor people themselves (see Jackson, Chapter 5, this volume). Recent work on gender and poverty has thus explored notions of agency, voice and empowerment, while acknowledging that such analyses are frequently set in the context of conceptual and policy frameworks that tie women ever more inexorably to the intransigencies of their material, social and political circumstances. Hence the now well-documented transformation of the feminisation of poverty into its other gendered manifestations: the feminisation of survival (Sassen, 2002), policy (Roy, 2002), and responsibility and obligation (Chant, Chapter 15, this volume). Critics of mainstream conceptual frameworks and associated policy initiatives have consistently pointed out that gender disadvantages are part of an overall bundle of...

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