Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of material possessions or money. Poverty is a multifaceted concept, which may include social, economic, and political elements. Absolute poverty, extreme poverty, or destitution refers to the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
Some causes of poverty are changing trends in a country’s economy, lack of education, high divorce rate etc. Unemployment is the leading cause of poverty within the US. In 1999 and 2005, 71 percent of the families that were below the poverty line did not have any working family members. Among the families below the poverty line that had at least one family member working, low wages and insufficient benefits were also leading causes.
The increasing level of poverty in female and female-led households has led to the term “feminization of poverty”. The feminization of poverty is a change in the levels of poverty biased against women or female headed households. More specifically, it is an increase in the difference in the levels of poverty among women and men or among female versus male and couple headed households. It can also mean an increase of the role that gender inequalities have as a determinant of poverty, which would characterize a feminization of the causes of poverty. This phenomenon is not only a consequence of lack of income, but is also the result of the deprivation of capabilities and gender biases present in both societies and governments. This includes the poverty of choices and opportunities, such as the ability to lead a long, healthy, and creative life, and enjoy basic rights like freedom, respect, and dignity. Women’s increasing share of poverty is related to the rising incidence of lone mother households.
CAUSES OF LOW INCOME AMONG WOMEN
There are several factors that place women at high risk of poverty. These include the gender wage gaps, women’s prevalence in low-paid occupations, a lack of work-family supports, and the challenges involved in accessing public benefits.