End Women's Poverty
11 October - 19 November 1999
Working Group Summaries
About the Working Group
The Beijing Platform for Action, which was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, states that "[m]ore that 1 billion people in the world today, the great majority of whom are women, live in unacceptable conditions of poverty." Poverty has been defined as a lack of access to resources, employment and income resulting in a state of material deprivation. Its definition has recently been broadened to include the denial of opportunities and choices to live a long, healthy and creative life within a particular standard of living, freedom and dignity.
Women and men tend to have distinct experiences of poverty and live in impoverished conditions because of processes that affect them differently. Within this context, the notion of the "feminisation of poverty" -- partially supported by claims that women tend to be disproportionately poor in comparison to men because of their status as single mothers and/or heads of households -- is a popular one. This Working Group will, among other things, explore the basis for this assumption.
Understanding the specific ways in which women and men experience poverty is critical if policies and actions aimed at reducing poverty among women are to be effective. Thus embedded in the understanding that reducing poverty is connected to equality, development and peace, the Beijing Platform for Action defined four strategic objectives for the issue of women and poverty:
Within the context of the above objectives, the End-Poverty Working Group will identify and discuss progress since 1995, obstacles to be overcome, and priorities for the future. More specifically we will discuss:
The Working Group will run from 11 October to 19 November 1999. We propose to organise the discussion around six key themes: