It is said that poverty is blind, that is to say that the phenomenon of poverty has no particular target, it just impacts whomever it can; however, poverty affects those who are disadvantaged, far more than the ones who are advantaged in the society. Women as compared to men have less access to educational and economic opportunities all over the world.
It was in 1978 when Diana Pearce coined the term “feminization of poverty”, after researching and concluding how a disproportionate number of women suffer from poverty and also encompasses the differences between levels of poverty of males and females, also a difference in the poverty level between female and male-headed households.
There is a lack of financial sovereignty of women which further pushes them in a cycle of repression and violence due to not having any economically significant role in the family.
Some of the major reasons for the phenomenon of feminization of poverty are: Women being at a higher risk of poverty, wage gaps between the genders, prevalence of women in a low paid job, no workplace support by family, capability deprivation, lack of the ability to control the environment around her and teenage motherhood etc. Of all the people living in poverty around the globe, 70% are women; this gendered nature of economic disparity remains largely unrecognized on a global scale.
Poverty in this context includes but is not limited to the lack of money, it also includes denial of access to fundamental rights like health, education, nutritious food, property, and representation on sociopolitical matters etc, and extreme poverty like this is proven to be the most ruthless killer,
Women being so low on the poverty scale are not just a mere coincidence nor it is just an issue for women only, this is a matter of “human” concern and needs to be dealt with accordingly. Feminized poverty leads to females having less representation in the formal job sector; there is also a higher mortality rate of women during a disaster, like malnutrition, childbirth etc. Families choose their males for providing education too and leave out the girl child, depriving them of the means to equip themselves with the necessary means to climb up the economic ladder.
Apart from the material deprivation women have to also on an average face issues like; psychosocial stress, unhealthy living condition, lack of access to health, lack of access to proper nutrition, sexual and physical abuse far more often than men, and this problem needs to be solved in order to become a better society, which is just and livable.
When the feminized poverty is allowed to perpetuate it ensnares generations after generation in a cycle of repression, poverty and hopelessness, threatening the well being of women all over the globe.