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 4: Power, Privilege and Gender as Reflected in Poverty Analysis and Development Goals

Gerd Johnsson-Latham


Gerd Johnsson-Latham This chapter focuses on how gender-based power and privileges influence perceptions of what ‘development’ means, which in turn is a determinant for defining both ‘poverty’ and ways of measuring and addressing it. The chapter builds on studies and on my own experiences as gender adviser within the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in regard to development cooperation. I discuss links between power, privilege and gender, and reflect on two separate schools of thought. The first is the dominant poverty discourse, focusing on economic growth and quantitative measurements. The second is gender and development (GAD), which contrary to the dominant discourse exposes structural, asymmetrical power relations between the sexes, and does not regard economic growth as a prerequisite for improving women’s living conditions. Instead, GAD highlights legal and social barriers, which relate to power structures. Basing my reflections on these two schools of thought, I examine the extent to which the centrepiece in poverty reduction strategies in terms of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), notably the third sub-goal, addresses female deprivation and disempowerment.1 It notes that a global, political consensus on the MDGs at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2000 was attained only at the cost of removing key aspects of women’s rights from the MDG package. The chapter concludes by discussing how GAD and exposure of power, privilege and gender can influence the present dominant agenda and make better provision for non-discriminatory development and human well-being by addressing the dilemma of current male bias in many...

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