1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics

From Chapter 4 – Gender Inequalities at Home and in the Market

This chapter discusses how the relationship between poverty and gender is complex because it is placed at the intersection of at least three sets of institutions: labour markets, which differentially structure and reward male and female labour; households, where decisions are made about the allocation and distribution of resources, including labour and earnings, and where labour itself is (re)produced; and states, which, through a constantly changing mix of regulatory and provisioning roles, shape the broader policy environment within which the other two institutions operate. As the evidence in this chapter will show, gender inequalities in labour markets are remarkably persistent and deeply embedded across diverse development paths.

The chapter is organized as follows
  • Section 1 of the chapter explores how labour markets, states and households affect women’s income in advanced industrialized countries.
  • Section 2 examines how gender inequalities are embedded or reproduced in labour markets. It draws its evidence from a range of developing countries clustered into three groupings: the late industrializers of East Asia; a wider range of countries with stalled industrialization; and agrarian economies.
  • Section 3 looks at how household structures shape women’s risk of being poor.
  • Section 4 turns to public policies and considers a range of interventions that address income poverty and gender inequality. Here the report underscores the importance of labour regulation and protection, which have been marginalized in the social policy agenda.

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