Gendering poverty: a review of six World Bank African poverty assessments

Whitehead, Ann and Lockwood, Matthew (1999) Gendering poverty: a review of six World Bank African poverty assessments. Development and Change, 30 (3). pp. 525-555. ISSN 1467-7660

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Since the late 1980s, Poverty Assessments have emerged as the most important statements by the World Bank about poverty in particular countries. This article examines, in some depth, a set of Assessments from four sub-Saharan African countries from a gender perspective. These Assessments display an enormous variation in the extent to which gender is present, and they also show a sharp contrast between the treatment of gender issues in the measurement of poverty, particularly in the participatory elements of the Assessments, and their absence in the policy sections of the documents. The article goes on to analyse why the inclusion of gender in these World Bank country-specific poverty documents has been so problematic. In the absence of a clear analytical framework in the Bank for understanding gender, its treatment in the Assessments is driven on the one hand by a set of epistemological and methodological choices about measuring poverty, and on the other hand, by a set of prescriptions for reducing poverty which originate in the Bank's 1990 World Development Report. The key conclusion of the paper is that it is impossible to integrate gender into an understanding of poverty unless the reading of evidence, analysis and policy are all based on relational processes of impoverishment or accumulation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Ann Whitehead
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:04
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2012 12:25
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