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Gendering poverty: a review of six World Bank African poverty assessments
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 16:28 authored by Ann Whitehead, Matthew Lockwood
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.
JournalDevelopment and Change
Department affiliated with
- Anthropology Publications
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