Feminization of Poverty Entered in to a New Era
The coronavirus epidemic had passed first wave around the world. Now most of the countries over the globe, facing second round attack of Covid-19. Some of countries have been facing third wave. In the stage, we can say, the world is tackling a tragic situation now. Corona’s onslaught has left the world facing multidisciplinary problems as health hazard, food crisis, shut down of education, decreasing its quality, economic degradation, be shatteted business, be stopped trade, lack of employment generation, losing employed, created more unemployment, and new unemployed people not to get jobs.
After all, the way of people live their lives, the decline of the economy, the form of social reality, the behavioral aspects have changed drastically. People’s healthcare and employment are passing a hard time. As a result, the number of poor people in the world is gradually increasing. Meanwhile, the poverty of women has increased indiscriminately. For these causes, Covid-19 pandemic is a great impediment for women to gain new jobs in the workfield. So women’s proverty has reached its peak all over the world.
From the earliest times of creation, women have been deprived of their just rights. In a male-dominated society, they were not valued in any way. But it does not end here. They have been physically and mentally abused forever. They have been depriving or deprived from family, social and state in the all level as. They have used to be depended on men for food, clothing, education, shelter, and entertainment. In a word, they have been politically, economically and culturally exploiting and depriving for a long period.
Not only that, regardless of caste, they had no rights over movement, ancestral property, husband’s property and other assets. But in some societies it exists till today. They have born, to give birth and nurturing children. The social situation was such, that was like a maidservant profession, as if that it was only their destiny. They had no freedom of speech, so they could not decide on their marriage, childbearing, sexual intercourse, occupation etc. As well as they had no rights to take any decision about family matters. That is, they could not or would not participate in the decision-making process in any way. They have had to endure the pain of this lack for a long time. Although their situation has not changed over time, there had no discussion on women’s poverty. Even it had no idea about the matter.There was not much discussion about women’s poverty. In the late twentieth century’s in the seventies to nineties decades, discussions on women’s poverty began.
The United Nations take initiatives to reduce the poverty rate among men and women. Since then, women’s organizations have been formed in various countries around the world to address the issue of women’s poverty. It was then began, the discussion and movement for establish-ment of equality between men and women. Later, the feminization of poverty has been reduced. But the global corona epidemic has exacerbated women’s poverty at high rate.
According to the World Economic Forum, the global gender gap time for the new generation has increased from 99.5 to 135.6 years due to the negative impact for women in 2020. As a result, feminization of poverty entered into a new age.
What is Feminization of Poverty?
Women-poverty does not just mean the economic condition of women. In this case, the overall conditions of women is explained there. So that women’s poverty transformed into feminization of poverty. The feminization of poverty refers to the average rate of burden that women carry on poverty. It is also enhanced gender inequality among the man and women in the same socio-economic conditions which is expedited living standard specially. In a word, feminization of poverty is not only a consequences of lack of income and resources but it is also the deprivations of capabilities and gender biases in this both societies and governments level. In this phenomenon involves family size, head of household, deprivation, sexual harassment, education, employment, health hazard, climate change, natural deasters, inequal laws and regulations formulation, country’s trade and business, employment generation scope etc.
The feminization of poverty concept has come to light in the 1970s at first. It has become popular by United Nation’s different agencies’ research in the early 1990s.
At first in 1978, Diane Pearce coined the term “feminization of poverty” in the United States, when two-thirds of the poor over age of 16 were women.
According to Buvinic and Gupta (1997), between the period 1965-1970 and the mid-1990s, the number of rural women living in poverty increased by 48 per cent, while the number of rural men living in poverty increased by 30 per cent in the same period. This alarming trend is referred to as ‘”feminization of poverty.”
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), describes it as “the burden of poverty borne by women, especially in developing countries.”
According to United Nations Division for The Advancement of Women (UNDAW), “feminization of poverty denotes that access to critical resources, such as credit, land and inheritances, access to education and support services and participation in decision making at home and in the society is minimal.”
Causes of Feminization of Poverty:
There are so many previous causes of feminization of poverty, as well as newly created causes are decribed as under:
1. Female headed family: Single mother households are at the highest risk of poverty for women due to lack of income and resources. When female headships are active and no male headships in family for that the critical situation addresses feminization of poverty.
2. Differences of wages between women and men: This social inequality deprives women of capabilities, particularly employment, which leads to women having a higher risk of poverty. This increase in occupational gender segregation, exclusion, wages gap increases feminization to poverty.
3. Deprived from property rights: Women have the right to get property as heirs like father, mother, brother, husband and so on, but a whole range of customary practices, emotional pressure, social sanction and plan violence prevent them from acquiring those by women.
4. Low profile employment: Low profile employment leads to the feminization of poverty to a perpetual system of poverty because of the social restrictions on women’s labour force participation, insufficient number of jobs and lower earnings of women.
5. Unwillingness or no interests about trade union: Women express unwillingness and no interest about trade union due to no-support from the society and family, fear of violence, needy situation of women, image and obstacles created by the societies with the religious restrictions which lead to the feminization of poverty.
6. Lack of social capital: Women are deprived of basic education and health care due to less income than men. Higher income allows greater access to skills and job skills raises income as well. This attitude of social capital is a cause of feminization of poverty.
7. Decision-making power: The participation of decision making process often does not bring the women’s perception. So, this powerless position of women at home and in the societies increases the poverty in feminization.
8. Lack of education: One of the causes of feminization of poverty is lack of education which is a matter of negative ideas created by the patriarchal based society regarding education as well as subject choice for females.
9. Lack of social security: Feminization of poverty is caused by the women’ security in society in ensuring the opportunities basic rights such as feeding, lodging, shelter, health care as well as social factors related to her biological and mental affairs.
10. Social and Cultural Exclusion: Social and cultural norms that prevent women from having access to formal matters. The cultural and social norms do not allow women to have much labor productivity outside the home as well as an economic bargaining position within the household.
11. Pandemic Situation: As per Oxfam International reports, covid-19 made an alarming impacts on women globally. Women lost more than 64 million job, which is equals to 5% of the total jobs held by women in 2020. But it is mentioned here that men lost 4% in comparison with the total jobs of men in the last year. This loss of jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis cost women around the world at least $800 billion in earnings. The figure that is more than the combined GDP of 98 countries of the world. Moreover, in that calculation, the informal domestic wokers wages aren’t included who are doing unpaid works. It is mentioned here that 91.8% of workers in the informal sector in Bangladesh are women. Domestic workers as the great majority portion are women as well as day labourers, cleaners, infrastructure sectors labourers have lost their means of earning a living. In the formal sector, Covid-19 has also had adverse effects in the ready-made garments (RMG) sector in due to cancellation and suspension orders by the buyers which is amounting to billions of dollars. Women are being tortured in the family and the social life due to the fact that most of the women lost their jobs during the Covid-19 era. Now I would like to say that it is very difficult to stop domestic violence as it is shaped into so larger over the world.
12. Natural Disasters: Natural disasters occur due to weather and climate change and earthquakes, etc over the world. Air pollution, deforestation, coal, diesel and atomic energy based power generation plant and green-house effects, global worming and excess carbon emissions damage and destroy the natural environment and biodiversity and
raise the water level of sea. As a result, occurred natural disasters like cyclones, spate, rains, heavy rains, floods, mountain slopes, river erosion, droughts etc. come down every year and the coastal areas’ land is drowning under the water. As a result, the people of the whole land, including the people of the coastal areas are affected. People’s lives and profession are facing destruction. People lose their resources like dwelling house, accumulated wealth, cattles as well as become helpless. So, they were plunged into indescribable misery and forced to relocate and made displacement. That’s why women’s head families poverty enhance rapidly.
13. Extra stress on the cost of living: Inflation has risen as the economy has shrunk during the corona pandemic era. As a result, the cost of health care products, medicines and services has risen at the highest rate in the world, including daily necessities. During this epidemic, a large number of women and men have become unemployed. In this case, the number of women has increased at a higher rate. It will be a big challenge for all countries in the world to control the price of goods and create employment and bring the overall condition of women to the pre-epidemic stage. It is not possible for women-headed families and unemployed women to bear their extra expenditure of living standard. At the moment their standard of living has fallen below the poverty line. As a result, a new woman-poor class has emerged in the society. It can be said, women-poverty is increasing at a huge rate.
14. Lack of protection of women’s rights in legislation: Women are considered to be underdeveloped, developing and developed countries, colour and religion in terms of getting formal and informal jobs, and women’s fair rights in the payment of salaries, allowances and bonuses are not protected. The issue of payment of wages based on women’s justice is not mentioned in the law on the basis of priority. Because, all over the world, women are not getting equal pay for men. Therefore, the issue of women’s wages should be included in the law on a priority basis while enacting the law, so that women are getting equal pay to men. Due to loopholes in the law the Women’s poverty rate is increasing in a large scale.
15. Child Marriage and Divorce Provision: The rate of child marriage in the Least developed and developing countries, especially in rural areas, is much higher. Most of the people in the rural areas of these countries are poor. They promise to give different types of dowry to the groom when they marry their daughters. But after the marriage, if the girl’s family could not meet the dowry demand, the girl become subjected to endless torture. In the end, the groom divorced the girl because he did not get the dowry. Unable to bear the torture of her father-in-law’s house for dowry, many girls bind to suicide. Again many girls are killed. However, in the least developed and developing countries, the trend of this rate is much higher. Those who got divorced and return to their father’s house, from then on, extreme misery descends on their lives. Again, many are unable to remarry because of religious restrictions. So the girl of child marriage has to suffer from the cruelest poverty.
16. Lack of personal life: The women haven’t personal rights within the family boundary. No illuminating focus on economic, political, social and cultural sectors on women life. Moreover, women have no choice about gender inequalities in marriage, divorce, inheritance and custodianship within different communities.
17. Lesser access to modern technology of women: Women participation is concentrated in readymade garments and agriculture sectors. Whatever, women’s involvement are lower in other sectors like information, social medias, modern technology and Conventional gender roles.
18. Equalization of wages between women and men in every sector: Still remains wages differences between men and women in formal and informal sectors. As well as women receipt less wages rather than men. This situation creates women poverty.
19. No protection regarding women physical and emotions: Majority women have no legal protection regarding abuse, discrimination, irregular employment, low wages, and long working hours. Although several laws, policies, rules and regulations are formulated to protect women rights over the world. But women are facing difficulties and inadequate opportunities like children care, day care centre, health services in the workplace, entertainment, transport, accommodation and job security and mobility. So that, women have been losing gradually their egarness and enthusism about gaining jobs.
20. Lack of borrowing facilities: Lack of borrowing facilities: Women entrepreneurs’ have no larger opportunities to take loans from banking, non-banking financial institutions and other investing organisations, due to women’s incapabilities as unskillness, collection of documents, securities and guranttees and lack of financial knowledge and courageous initiatives.
Corona pandemic has brought huge changes in the economic, political and social life of the world. As a result, of this change, its effects will be felt unevenly for the next few years. Various studies have provided that more than 47 million women will fall into extreme poverty. These women are living on less than USD 1.90 cost per day in 2021. Moreover, in the United States, the most developed country in the world, 1 out of 6 women is facing extremely food insecurity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Governments around the world, needed to come up with short, medium and long term plans to deal with this crisis. To revive the economy, women-friendly and inclusive economic programs must be adopted and implemented. Moreover, social investment must be increased; so that the feminization of poverty is reduced. Again, the world needs to be considered as a global village to reduce gender and ethnic divisions.
To ensure women’s health care and protection, every woman should be covered by the free vaccine. This will allow women to return to their workplaces and reduce their poverty. Moreover, in the recovery of the economy, required measures must be taken in the field of tax assessment, and no new tax to be imposed. Again social security and service delivery must be ensured.
The price of services for women who have fall in extremely poverty to be kept within their purchasing capacity or provided free of cost. Countries in the developed world need to provide assistance in the economic development of countries affected by global warming and climate change. If these measures are taken, the feminization of poverty of the world will be reduced.