Women, girls, and world poverty: empowerment, equality or essentialism?. 

Author:

Chant, S.

Editor:

Date:

2016

Region:

Theme:

Gender, Development & Rights

Language:

English

Publisher:

Full Harvard Reference:

Chant, S., (2016). Women, girls, and world poverty: empowerment, equality or essentialism?. International Development Planning Review, 38(1), pp.1-24.

This paper asks if mounting reliance on women and girls to solve world poverty is an effective means to achieve greater female empowerment and gender equality, or whether it threatens to lock-down essentialising stereotypes which are unlikely to dismantle gender disparities within and beyond the home. The notion of a ‘feminisation of poverty’ has had some benefits in respect of drawing attention to gendered disadvantage. However, the kinds of policy initiatives which have emerged to address are questionable. The discussion highlights some key paradoxes in three popular interventions nominally oriented to helping women lift themselves and their households out of poverty: conditional cash transfer programmes, microfinance schemes, and ‘investing in girls’, as promulgated inter alia by the Nike Foundation’s ‘Girl Effect’.