Poverty, Gender Dimension and Economic Policies. (Research Notes)

By Azim, Manal Abdel | Ahfad Journal, June 2002 | Go to article overview

Poverty, Gender Dimension and Economic Policies. (Research Notes)


Azim, Manal Abdel, Ahfad Journal


Amal Hussein Mohamed (2000) Poverty, Gender Dimension and Economic Policies. M.Sc. Gender and Development. Ahfad University for Women, Omdurman, Sudan.

The main objectives of the study are:

1- To highlight the reasons behind gender dimension of poverty, and to take an in-depth analysis of the various socio-cultural, and economic factors that deprived women from living in good conditions.

2- To investigate about women working in the informal sector, in order to find out their coping strategies.

3- To examine the impact of poverty and Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) at different social groups, particularly to lower ones.

4- To recommend policies for poverty alleviation.

The study meant to clarify the socio-cultural and economic factors that determnie the gender dimension of poverty especially on lower levels of urban women in Omdurman. That is beside stating how women carry deep burdens of economis adjustment, by increasing the their participation in the informal sector work. Also it shows the effects of the economic policies, particularly the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs)

The data was collected from

1- Thirty women respondents, through interviews and group discussion method.

2- From publications research studies on poverty and economic policies structural adjustment programmes.

That was to show, how women dealt with the problems of poverty which they faced. The questions were centred around the following:

1- Marital status

2- Level of education

3- The number of hours women spent at work

4- The source of water supply in the house

5- The income per day

6- The strategies adopted to. face the continuous rise of prices

7- What women gained from economic policies and SAPs.

The study revealed that poverty is not only the function of material conditions, but it also reflects the role of institutions, policies and ideologies that dealt with the position of women and men. Moreover, poverty is attributed to the failure of economic policies which neglected women's roles in development.

Poverty is linked to the unequal access and distribution of resources, limited participation in economic institutions and also the impact of Structural Adjustment Programmes on social services.

Poverty in Sudan has resulted from all mentioned aspects, beside exclusion from the market, from social and political life and also unequal distribution of wealth and income. While armed conflict and civil war are linked to the general political economic and social conditions of the country and all increased the spread of poverty. All people suffer from poverty, but women suffer more due to deep rooted social structures, inequality in women's situation and gender disparities.

Women and girls carry the heaviest burden of economic adjustment, because of their reproductive role and houshold division of labour. Women work more longer hours than men, and their participation in the informal labour market is increased, as they are taking more responsibility for their families survival.

The study proposed that there is a gender dimension in poverty in order that:

1- Women are victims rather than actors in adjustment policies

2- Women are a more vulnerable group than men m poverty

3- Women are restricted to the private domain and are exploited and discriminated by economic policies.

Moreover there is a gender gap in the lobour force, women are concentrated in the lower range and lower status jobs. Larger numbers of women are victims of displacement for reasons of war and draught, that increase the number of female headed housholds.

All aspects of poverty in Sudan 1978-1999 and till now have been increasing. That indicates that nothing substantial has been done to reduce poverty. The poor are working against all odds trying to reduce their poverty. …

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