Sociology Index


Feminization of poverty is the social process in which the incidence of poverty among women becomes much higher than among men. Feminization of poverty is the Increasing female proportion of the population on low incomes or in poverty. If poverty in a society is distinctly reduced among men and is only slightly reduced among women, there would be a feminization of poverty. Feminization of Poverty describes a phenomenon in which women represent disproportionate percentages of the world's poor. Feminization of Poverty is the burden of poverty borne by women, especially in developing countries.

Feminization of poverty concept is not only a consequence of lack of income, but is also the result of the deprivation of capabilities and gender biases present in both societies and governments. This includes the poverty of choices and opportunities, such as the ability to lead a long, healthy, and creative life, and enjoy basic rights like freedom, respect, and dignity.

If poverty in a society is greatly reduced among men and is only less reduced among women, then we can say there is feminization of poverty. Diana Pearce, director of the Center for Women's Welfare, coined the term 'Feminization of Poverty' in 1978.

The term Juvenilization of Poverty is linked to the feminization of poverty. By feminization of poverty we mean increase in the female proportion of the population with lower incomes than men. Changes in social policy, structure of the family and workplace, social security provisions, life expectancy and other aspects of society have had the unintended result of feminization of poverty.


The juvenilization of poverty is closely linked to the feminization of poverty The terms juvenilization of poverty and feminization of poverty have been highly contested. The term 'Juvenilization of poverty' is used to describe child poverty and the increase in both relative and absolute measures of poverty among children.

Juvenilization of poverty or poverty in childhood is damaging: to children, to their life chances and to communities. Research has shown that family income impacts on children's lives and development in a variety of ways. Living on a low-income increases parents’ stress levels, in turn affecting relationships and family dynamics.

Women's increasing share of poverty is related to the rising incidence of lone mother households. The term feminization of poverty itself is controversial and has been defined in many different ways. In 1978, Diana Pearce coined the term, "the feminization of poverty" after doing much research and seeing how many women struggled with poverty within the United States, as well as globally.

Abstracts On Feminization of Poverty

FEMINIZATION OF POVERTY AND JUVENILIZATION OF POVERTY: Trends, Relative Risks, Causes, and Consequences - Suzanne M. Bianchi. This paper reviews trends in feminization of poverty and juvenilization of poverty showing that the relative risks of poverty increased for women in the 1970s but decreased for working-age women in the early 1980s. The decline in manufacturing employment and “family wage” jobs for men increased the likelihood that less-educated men fell into poverty in the early 1980s. These two factors combined to halt the feminization of poverty among the working-age population.

Fighting the Feminization of Poverty: Socialist-Feminist Analysis and Strategy. Wendy Sarvasy, Judith Vanallen. Socialist Feminism provides a necessary corrective to the strict feminization of poverty analysis by incorporating analyses of race and class differences among women. We use the concept of women's dual role to analyze the interconnections among the family, the labor market and the welfare state, and to examine the ways that gender and class struggles over the costs of reproduction of labor power are expressed as conflicts over welfare policies.

Using Postmodern Feminist Theory to Deconstruct "Phallacies" of Poverty 
Kathleen E. Nuccio, Roberta G. Sands. This article demonstrates how postmodern feminist deconstruction can be used to uncover phallocentric biases in current theories of the feminization of poverty. Deconstructs statements from leading theorists, and questions the proposed solution to the feminization of poverty, which is marriage for women and the creation and preservation of good-paying jobs for men.

A Contrast of Black and White Feminization of Poverty - Emily Northrop. Abstract: The feminization of poverty was most pronounced from 1959 through 1978, and was more extreme among blacks than among whites. It resulted equally from a deterioration of female-headed household poverty status relative to that of the rest of the population, and from a demographic transition into female-headed households.

The Racialization and Feminization of Poverty? Rebecca J. Emigh (UCLA), Eva Fodor, and Ivan Szelenyi. ABSTRACT: Poverty is usually studied as a persistent, unchanging social problems that, hopefully, can be ameliorated through specific social policies. We ask how poverty changes during an epochal transformation, in this case, the transition from econmies based on socialist redistribution to those based on capitalist markets.

A Different Type of Gender Gap: How Women and Men Experience Poverty - Eva Fodor. While recent surveys do not find that poverty is feminized in post-communist Hungary, this project explores gender differences in the experience of destitution.

Abstract: An examination of the feminization of poverty around the world is approached in terms of the three contributing factors that have been underscored in the women-in-development and gender-and-development literature. It should be recognized that the women among the poor suffer doubly from the denial of their human rights, on account of gender inequality and on account of poverty. Therefore, programs to eliminate or alleviate poverty require attention to gender inequality and women’s human rights.

Analysis Of Feminization Of Poverty Through The Denial of Access Of Female Children to School: Case Of Rural Southeast Anatolia - LEYLA SEN. Female children's access to resources is much more limited than the male ones owing to the cultural values and traditional roles. Legislation denied female children the right of education, due to the extended graduation age from primary school. This denial was justified by the cultural, social and religious norms. Female school age children are forced to live in a narrow vicious circle. They have less chance for socialization parallel to the increased labor burden and earlier marriage ages.

FEMINIST POLITICAL DISCOURSES: Radical Versus Liberal Approaches to the Feminization of Poverty and Comparable Worth - JOHANNA BRENNER. Feminist campaigns concerning feminization of poverty and comparable worth are analyzed in terms of their major policy goals and the arguments typically used to justify those goals.

Feminization of Poverty and African-American Families: Illusions and Realities - Donna L. Franklin. The term feminization of poverty was coined to capture the increasing rates of poverty among mother-only families. More recently, it has been used to draw attention to the failure of men to provide support for their former wives by emphasizing the enforcement of child-support legislation.

The Feminization of Poverty? - VICTOR R. FUCHS. Abstract: There was much feminization of poverty in the 1960s, but in the 1970s, the sex mix of poverty was relatively constant, and between 1979 and 1984 women's share actually decreased. This trend in feminization of poverty was more severe for blacks than for whites. An increase in the proportion of women in households without men was the principal source of feminization of poverty and the principal reason why the trend was more adverse for blacks than whites.

What Does Feminization Of Poverty Mean? It Isn't Just Lack Of Income  - Fukuda-Parr S. This paper challenges the use of poverty incidence among female-headed households as a measure of feminization of poverty. An alternative framework of human poverty is proposed, focusing not on incomes but on human outcomes in terms of choices and opportunities that a person faces.

Work, women employment and feminization of poverty in Nigeria - Friday Asiazobor Eboiyehi, Adeyinka Oladayo Bankole, O Andrew Eromonsele. Abstract: Scholars have engaged in gender discourse that has often time demonstrated the continuous perpetuation of the inferiority of female gender to their male counterpart. This has aroused a lot of interest in the discussion of the reality of the 'feminization of poverty'. This paper is an attempt at contributing to the on-going debate on feminization of poverty. The paper puts forward policy considerations that would facilitate the elimination of all gender colourations in the place of work that perpetuates feminization of poverty. - Gender and Behavior.

Family Structure, Race, and the Feminization of Poverty. - Kniesner, Thomas J. And Others. 
Abstract: For women, divorce or giving birth out of wedlock frequently accompanies entry into poverty, while marriage or remarriage often results in exit from poverty. Since 1970, the increase in the number of poor women greatly exceeded that of poor men, resulting in a trend termed the feminization of poverty. In 1984, over 50 percent of black families with children were headed by women.

The Feminization of Poverty. - Garza, Janet K. Weir. Abstract: After the definition of poverty and the the definition of feminization of poverty, this paper cited U.S. Census data that includes earnings, family status, and education attained which were posited as major factors for the economic condition of women.

Schnepf, Sylke Viola (2006) The feminization of poverty in central and eastern Europe: evidence from subjective data. Abstract: The transition in countries of Central and Eastern Europe resulted in an unprecedented rise of poverty in the region. The term ‘feminization of poverty’ suggests that women had to bear a higher share of transition costs than men. The small number of studies examining the feminisation of poverty in transition countries is based on household data assuming income pooling and equal sharing within households. This paper shifts from household to individual data for estimating the feminisation of poverty. Results of the cross-sectional data suggest that the feminisation of poverty has already been a pre-transition phenomenon.

Female headship, feminization of poverty and welfare.
Kimenyi MS, Mbaku JM. Female-headed households are at greater risk of slipping into poverty than male-headed households. Indeed, sex and marital status of the head of household are the most important determinants of a family's poverty status in the US. Adjusting for differences in propensities to establish female-headed households, the level of welfare benefits is indeed an important factor in explaining the variation in the changes in the birth rates to unmarried women. The use of a weighted measure suggests that welfare benefits have played a significant role in the feminization of poverty.

The paradox of the advantaged elder and the feminization of poverty. - Gonyea JG.
Boston University School of Social Work. This article explores the emergence of the concepts of the advantaged elder and the feminization of poverty. The implications of societal perceptions of the advantaged elder and the feminization of poverty for older women are addressed.

The feminization of poverty: A call for primary prevention 
The Journal of Primary Prevention - Barbara Levy Simon. Abstract Three-fourths of all poverty in the United States is now concentrated among women and their children. The feminization of poverty is fueled by complex cultural and material forces. To reduce and prevent the feminization of poverty, a systematic campaign that confronts concomitantly each causal force is necessary.

The feminization of poverty: myth or reality? Gimenez ME. Abstract: The feminization of poverty is a widely discussed concept in the mass media, and in academic circles, which captures the following facts: there are more poor women than poor men, and women are more likely to fall into poverty because of gender-related factors. In this article, I examine the concept's empirical basis and theoretical significance.

The Feminization of Poverty in the United States - Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Family Factors. Marjorie E. Starrels, Univ of Michigan, Sally Bould, Univ of Delaware, Leon J. Nicholas, Bates College. This article details the contribution of gender, race, ethnicity, marital, and parental status to the feminization of poverty. It suggests that gender, race, and ethnicity strongly affect poverty rates. The authors articulate clearly the forces that have generated rapid feminization of poverty. The analysis takes into account a range of factors that have contributed significantly to feminization of poverty. - Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 15, No. 4, (1994).

Female Headship, Feminization of Poverty and Welfare - Mwangi S. Kimenyi, John Mukum Mbaku.

Black Americans and the Feminization of Poverty: The Intervening Effects of Unemployment - Harrell R. Rodgers, Jr.

Books on Feminization of Poverty

The Feminization of Poverty: Only in America? Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Eleanor Kremen.

Feminist explanations for the feminization of poverty : An article from: Journal of Economic Issues - Steven Pressman.