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 33: Gender, Urban Poverty and Ageing in India: Conceptual and Policy Issues

Penny Vera-Sanso


Penny Vera-Sanso Old-age poverty is increasingly a developing country issue where the population is ageing at a much faster rate than in developed countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050, 80 per cent of the global population aged 60 or more will live in developing economies and India, the second largest population of people aged 60 plus (following China), will have a life expectancy of 70 years. Rapid population ageing raises significant policy issues in countries that have become old before becoming wealthy and where the vast majority of the population cannot save for their old age. With the exception of Nepal, Mauritius, Namibia, Botswana and Bolivia which provide universal pensions, developing country governments expect most, if not all, ageing people to be self-supporting either through work or pension savings (see Budowski, Chapter 34, this volume) or supported by their families (Aboderin, Chapter 32, this volume), often while pursuing policies that make filial support less feasible and self-support less viable. Even when countries, such as India, do provide means-tested, non-contributory pensions, their coverage and value often fall short of need. This chapter uncovers the conceptual issues underlying policy framing in India that impinge on older people’s self-support or support from family or State, demonstrating the latter with a brief review of Indian pension policy. Drawing on the author’s collaborative research, it explains why filial support does not meet the needs of the older urban poor in Chennai, the capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu....

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