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“Poverty” is of feminine gender

September 10, 2016

The feminization of poverty has been hidden for a long time because when situations of poverty or social exclusion were analyzed, the gender variable was not included. The difficulty of access to education, land and credit, or the greatest insecurity and vulnerability in the labor market are factors contributing to the impoverishment of women and to the affirmation that “poverty has a woman’s face.” You have to give visibility to this phenomenon and understand how gender influences the risk of suffering poverty.
Lee aquí el artículo de Sonia Herrera, especialista en igualdad de género y miembro del Área Social de Cristianismo y Justicia [Read here the article (in Spanish) by Sonia Herrera, gender equality specialist and member of the Social Area of Christianity and Justice. Read here the article (in Spanish) by Sonia Herrera, gender equality especialist and member of the Social Area of Christianity and Justice.

We often hear that “poverty has a woman’s face”, but why so? How does gender influence the risk of suffering poverty? Do we really visualize that reality? What do we mean when we talk about the feminization of poverty? What does this phenomenon mean for women? Let us look at the answers.
At the Fourth World Conference on Women organized by the United Nations in Beijing in 1995, a document was adopted by consensus which has served as the framework for equality policies for two decades, but in practice has been systematically ignored: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It shows the need to address the relationship between women and poverty from different fields (education, environment, economy, communication, etc.). At the same time, it requires the commitment of participating states to “overcome the persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women,” “promote equal access to education at all levels,” “promote access to decent employment and the spheres of decision on economic activity” or “eradicate the inequality of women and men in the management of natural resources and environmental protection”, among other areas of critical action that have a direct relationship with women’s differential impoverishment.


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