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 34: Poverty, Gender and Old Age: Pension Models in Costa Rica and Chile

Monica Budowski


Monica Budowski Introduction Pensions are important instruments for poverty reduction in old age. Despite pensions accounting for a large proportion of state expenditure, and women’s disproportionate longevity, research on pension models rarely treats gender as a core analytical concept. Moreover, old-age poverty and pensions seldom feature on the agendas of women’s organisations in the South. These shortcomings are addressed in this chapter when comparing Chile and Costa Rica’s multi-pillar pension models from a gender perspective. Gender equality in old age, and in pension entitlements, requires an analytical framework incorporating two perspectives. The first is the interdependency between statedesigned pension models for its citizens and other relevant institutions, such as markets, communities and families. The second comprises the logics of each pillar (individually and as a whole) in multi-pillar pension models. Pension models reflect a country’s endeavour to provide for the contingencies of its citizens. This provision is based on implicit arrangements in other domains, especially gendered divisions of labour which distinguish between remunerated and acknowledged labour market work and unacknowledged housework and carework. This has led to a ‘two-track welfare state’ in which the ‘traditional’ family becomes an implicit force ‘structuring social policies and reproducing the social division of labour between the sexes’ (Sainsbury, 1996: 151). Where traditional forms of gendered divisions of labour prevail, old-age pension models linked to formal labour markets which lack redistributive components can reproduce or aggravate existing gender inequalities. State-implemented pension models may thus highlight dependencies among men and women and specific relationships between citizens...

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