Article Title

Women and Poverty


The issue regarding relationships between the status of women, economic health for all people, and social justice is a challenge in every society today. Until fairly recently, poverty and under development were assumed to put all members of affected households - men, women, and children - at an equal disadvantage. "Households" were regarded as static entities where labor and resources are pooled and equally shared. The implicit conclusion was that changes thought of as beneficial for development would be neutral in their effects on the different members of the households. Empirical evidence reveals, however, that the costs and benefits of development are often disproportionately distributed, depending on an individual member's sex, age, and relationship to the household head. Particularly in traditional societies with a pronounced gender-specific division of labor, which accords women and their work lower status or social importance, it cannot be assumed that females will automatically benefit from an increase in the "household" income. At best, the provision of goods, for which men are traditionally responsible, improves.


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