Concepts, Research, Policy
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 5: Gender Into Poverty Won’t Go: Reflections on Economic Growth, Gender Inequality and Poverty with Particular Reference to India
Cecile Jackson Discussions of gender and poverty since the 1990s have revolved around the ‘feminisation of poverty’, and been largely in terms of private consumption poverty (PCP) (see Chant, Chapter 15 this volume). It was argued, inter alia, that conventional indicators such as food, incomes, and land could not be used to measure women’s poverty in the same ways they are for men, and that poverty reduction programmes could not be expected to automatically improve gender equity (Jackson, 1996). Since then we have seen more analysis of the relationship between economic growth and gender equity, a conceptual shift towards well-being rather than PCP, an opening for a more cultural understanding of the experience of gendered ill-being, and a recognition of how male gender indentities relate to poverty. It is the latter themes which are addressed in this chapter, drawing in particular on evidence from India. Economic growth and gender The relationship between gender and poverty is complex and non-linear, and varies with spatial and temporal scales. At a macrolevel, gender inequality seems to reduce economic growth but on the question of how economic growth affects gender equity, there are more mixed views, even if the historical record indicates that growth seems to have reduced gender inequality, since the position of women in developed countries is generally more favourable than in developing countries. The non-linear relationship between gender and poverty can be thought of as a Kuznets curve, showing inequality relating to household incomes in an inverted ‘U’ pattern, so that...
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