Over the last decade, poverty analysis has moved from a focus  on  women  and  poverty  to  gender-aware  anti-poverty programming.  Rather  than  focusing  on  female-headed households only, recent thinking is informed by a more holistic understanding  of  the  linkages  between  gender,  poverty and  vulnerability.  Quantitative money-based indicators of poverty may not always reveal significant differences between men and women. But policy makers and practitioners need to be aware of the multiple channels through which women may become impoverished and disempowered. Here we focus on the social discrimination trap, which highlights the ways in which men and women’s, girl‘s and boys’ experiences of poverty differ in important ways.

We discuss how  understanding  the  gender  dimensionsof  chronic  poverty  is  important  not  only  for tackling  the greater  levels of deprivation and vulnerability that girls and women routinely face in many country contexts, but also for tackling poverty more broadly. Given women’s central role in producing, maintaining and reproducing the population (child bearing and raising, care of the family, sick and elderly), policy measures to  support women’s  empowerment  can  have multiple positive spill-over effects on women’s wellbeing  as well  as  childhood  poverty  and household poverty in general.   

Julia Brunt, CPRC Programme Manager No. 12 July 2008