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 14: Globalisation and the Need for a ‘Gender Lens’: A Discussion of Dichotomies and Orthodoxies with Particular Reference to the ‘Feminisation of Poverty’

Tine Davids and Francien van Driel


Tine Davids and Francien van Driel This chapter seeks to problematise and counter a trend in the field of gender and development (GAD) for the production of a series of global orthodoxies that are repeatedly reproduced in debates on globalisation (see Cornwall et al., 2007). We will discuss how ‘victim–heroine’ and ‘global–local’ dichotomies seem to inform the analysis of globalisation processes as well as representations of gender. One such orthodoxy is the feminisation of poverty thesis. Without attempting to discuss whether feminisation of poverty actually exists (see Chant, 2007, and Chapter 15, this volume; Medeiros and Costa, 2008, and Chapter 12, this volume), we will deconstruct the feminisation of poverty thesis from the perspective of demonstrating the subtle reproduction of orthodoxies, such as the ‘male-breadwinner’ paradigm. In order to (re)instate the representation of women and men as bearers of globalisation and gender, we will argue that we have to go beyond dichotomous thinking and, instead, regard gender as a multidimensional and intersectional analytical concept. This theoretical approach to gendered global–local dynamics – labelled the ‘gender lens’ – provides us with tools to reveal women’s and men’s multiple and differentiated agency and space for manoeuvre, rather than encoding essentialist notions of gender both in theories and policies. The feminisation of poverty deconstructed Notwithstanding elaborate analysis within gender and development studies aiming to analyse core mechanisms of globalisation from a gender perspective, we found that, in several of the most dominant debates in this field, globalisation itself does not get...

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