Fighting the feminisation of poverty
In a low income family who would you expect to receive the smallest share of food? The last to be granted access to health care? Or the last to be given economic independence? The mother of course! As absurd as it may seem, this is the prevailing scenario worldwide.
Women disproportionately suffer from hunger, disease, environmental degradation and impoverishment and they make up the greatest share of the world’s absolute poor. Poverty is stubbornly remaining “feminised”.
Needless to say, women’s relatively low status and the risks associated with reproduction exacerbate what is already an unfavourable overall health situation; half a million deaths every year, one every minute.
What can we do about this rising trend of feminisation of poverty in a world with staggering maternal mortality rates? What’s worse is that this is absolutely preventable.
October 17 is the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, an occasion to reflect, ponder and act - one which instigates us to do much more to eliminate poverty and related issues.
As a country, community or even as a person you really have two choices when it comes to adversities:
- You lament, make excuses, do nothing and remain stagnant.
- You learn from it, undertake efforts to improve and make a difference.
Personifying the latter, we work as Faiths Act Fellows in Deepalaya; seeking to eliminate maternal deaths in villages of Mewat, India. What we work toward is prioritising healthcare and nutritional needs of women, granting them access to education and support devices, and increasing their participation in informed decision making.
Empowerment would lead to knowledge to make informed decisions, prevent malaria, encourage a healthy and nutritious lifestyle for herself and her family; thus significantly lowering the maternal and infant mortality rates and freeing them from the vicious cycle of poverty. Acknowledging the gender dimension to poverty entails not only taking into account minimum basic needs but also tackling the denial of opportunities and choices.
All you need is a little faith.