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End Women's Poverty
11 October - 19 November 1999

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Working Group Summaries
  • Oct. 11 - Oct. 15, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Oct. 18 - Oct. 22, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Oct. 25 - Oct. 29, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Nov. 1 - Nov. 5, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Nov. 8 - Nov. 12, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Nov. 15 - Nov. 19, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |

    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:

    1. Review, adopt and maintain macroeconomic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty.
    2. Revise laws and administrative practices to ensure women's equal rights and access to economic resources.
    3. Provide women with access to savings and credit mechanisms and institutions.
    4. Develop gender-aware methodologies and conduct research to address the feminisation of 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:

    • examples of what has been done to reduce poverty among women and girls and what to do to ensure that development policies and programmes are gender-aware;
    • current obstacles and challenges to ending poverty among women and girls, and suggest approaches for addressing them; and
    • future priorities for the achievement of gender equality and elimination of gendered dimensions of poverty.

    The Working Group will run from 11 October to 19 November 1999. We propose to organise the discussion around six key themes:

    1. How have the causes and experiences of poverty among women and girls changed over the last five years?
    2. How have macroeconomic and social policies and laws supported, or not supported, poor women since 1995?
    3. What have been the changes in development strategies and administrative practices aimed at ensuring the equal rights of women and girls, and their access to economic resources?
    4. In what ways have poor women's access to credit and savings mechanisms improved, or not improved, their lives?
    5. How have research on poverty in general and methodologies that specifically focus on women and gender relations in particular, been used to improve the lives of women and girls?
    6. In what ways can gender-aware development policies and strategies, as implemented by multilateral institutions, governments, the private sector and international, national and local NGOs, facilitate the reduction of poverty among women and girls?

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