Women and Poverty

Beijing +20 - Women and Poverty

In 2014, the 80 richest people on the planet owned the same as half of the world’s entire poor population. And the gap is growing ever wider. Poverty destroys people’s opportunity to live in dignity. This makes rising income and wealth inequality one of the most serious global, economic, social and political problems.

The 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing illustrated that poverty has taken on a significant gender-specific dimension. Women are particularly hard hit by poverty: they perform a greater portion of work, but receive a mere tenth of global income and own less that a hundredth of all property. Other social dimensions such as skin colour, religion and ethnic origin further intensify this discrimination.

Strategic objectives aimed at combating poverty were specified in Beijing: women living in poverty and their needs must be given greater attention and addressed through specific policies and strategies. Women need equal access to property, land and financial resources. Methods and research dealing with the feminization of poverty are required.

Over the last five years, the effects of the global economic crisis have been felt across the globe, especially in households living on the poverty line. Worldwide, single women households are the especially hard hit by poverty.

Many women in Germany are also denied their own secure livelihoods and economic independence. This is primarily due to the unequal work-life balance between women and men. Linked to this, gender-based segregation stubbornly persists on the labour market which results in great pay inequality and subsequently an even greater pension gap.


Video: Beijing+20 in South Africa

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southern Africa office spoke to five leading women’s rights activists on their perceptions of the challenges that women in South Africa face today and whether the Beijing Declaration, and South Africa’s commitment to it, remains relevant to addressing those challenges.

Young black women occupy spaces and change Brazilian reality

In Brazil, women of color face double discrimination because of their gender and skin color. Most often, they live in favelas - the slums of the poor at the cities' outskirts. Manoela Vianna reports about three women who fight for a change

By Manoela Vianna

Still a long road ahead

"Cambodia still has a long road ahead", believes Ms. Sok, who spoke at the roundtable on Beijing +20 at the Metahouse in Phnom Penh, hosted by Heinrich Boell Foundation. Since the promises of Beijing, a lot has been improved, but especially concerning education and economy, much remains to be done.

Brides for India’s North

Declining sex ratios due to decades of discrimination against women in certain parts of India have left many men unmarried. An interview about cross-regional marriage migration with Ravinder Kaur.

By Caroline Bertram

The grey hair gap

The Gender Pay Gap also affects pensioners. The European Commission found that, among European pensioners aged over 65, women received on average € 886 per month compared with €1447 for men, i.e. a 39% gap.

By Francesca Bettio

Good to Know

  • Progress of the World's Women 2015/2016: detailed report by the UN Women on the economical barriers facing women, and strategies of improving the political participation of women on a global scale. more>>
  • Beijing Platform for Action
    Read the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action here
    An overview the Platform's 12 critical areas of concern by the UN Women. more>>
  • Women in Armed Conflicts: in the context of the CSW 59, the GWI co-hosted an event at concering a pressing issue for the Platform - women in armed conflicts. more>>


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