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 25: Reducing the Gender Gap in Education: The Role of Wage Labour for Rural Women in Mozambique

John Sender


John Sender Introduction Analysis of research results from rural Mozambique offers some important new insights into gender relations and the inter-generational transmission of poverty. The Mozambican Rural Labour Survey (MRLS) underpinned the research and covered many of the poorest rural households in the country.1 In some of these households, especially in those where women have greater autonomy in making resource allocation decisions, the welfare of young girls (daughters) is less likely to be neglected than in other households. This finding confirms patterns found in the well-established international literature on the determinants of gender gaps in education and in nutrition between sons and daughters (Thomas, 1994: 979). However, the estimates of ‘autonomy’ in this literature have not considered divorced and separated statuses as unambiguous indicators of women’s ability to act independently. The MRLS contains a remarkably high incidence of divorced, separated and widowed women. The fate of these women is not only important in the context of Mozambique. A great many extremely poor people in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in southern Africa, live in similar rural households that do not receive regular support from a male spouse. In the poorest African households, the ratio of adult males to adult females is relatively low or there are no adult males at all (Sender, 2003). Many women in the survey told the researchers that they became wage workers following the death of or desertion by their spouse, or said that they left the labour market as soon as they married or began to cohabit.2...

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