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Mains Answer Writing

7-December-2023

1.  “Poverty has a woman’s face.” What do you understand by feminization of poverty? What role can women empowerment play in poverty reduction?

ANSWER

  • The term “feminization of poverty” refers to the disproportionate and increasing burden of poverty that women experience compared to men. Feminization of poverty gives poverty a woman’s face as women, particularly those in marginalized groups, are more affected by poverty as they face more significant economic, social, and cultural barriers to economic empowerment.

The feminization of poverty gives poverty a woman’s face in the following ways:

  1. Gendered Opportunities: Women’s poverty is compounded by their lack of access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. E.g., dropping out of school due to early marriage.
  2. Lack of Ownership: Women remain at the margins of family’s financial decision-making process which leads to lack of socio-economic agency. It leads towards asset poverty and lack of property rights.
  3. Gender-based violence: Women’s economic choices are limited by threats of violence and concerns of safety. It acts as a structural barrier to ending poverty. E.g., limited working hours, lower wages.
  4. Gendered Migration: Migration of men to cities leave women behind in the less productive agricultural economy. It exposes women to sectoral issues through feminization of agriculture.

Women empowerment has a crucial role in poverty reduction in the following ways:

  1. Health and Education: When women have more control over their lives, they are more likely to make developmental choices that help their families break the cycle of poverty. E.g., increased expenditure on education and nutrition.
  2. Economic Status: Women, when empowered, are better able to improve the economic status of their families than men. E.g., role of SHGs in financial inclusion.
  3. Societal Benefits: When women have equal access to education, skills, and economic opportunities, they create intergenerational effects on economic growth and poverty reduction through positive ripple effects on families, communities, and society. E.g., reduction in child marriages lowers population growth.
  4. Economic Growth: Female labour force participation rate (LFPR), which is much lower than men (20% vs 74%). Women empowerment entails increasing female LFPR would propel economic growth by addressing problems of skill shortage. Economic growth is the biggest antidote to poverty.
  5. Social Justice: Giving women equal rights, access, and opportunities helps address intersectional disabilities. It challenges discrimination and fosters a more equitable society where everyone has a fair chance to thrive.
  6. Inclusive policies: Women’s political participation can lead to the implementation of inclusive, gender-responsive policies that contribute to poverty reduction. E.g., nutrition-sensitive interventions.

Women’s empowerment is key to address poverty and not just its gendered face. By prioritizing women’s empowerment, we can create a more just and equitable society for all. Concerted efforts from government, society, families, and individuals are needed to eliminate gender discrimination.

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2. How does consumption-based accounting address environmental impacts in global agricultural trade?

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3. Examine the methodological concerns and discrepancies in the recent National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) estimates for India, and discuss how these challenges impact the assessment of poverty reduction efforts.

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