Gender and poverty reduction : the challenge of intersection


The Article distinguishes different approaches to conceptualising gender and poverty through examining the challenges of intersecting inequalities. Three dilemmas relating to whether one prioritises what works or what matters in poverty reduction are considered. The first dilemma is entailed in translating between different contexts of public policy formation, professional work, and lived experience in relation to gender and poverty. Is ‘what works’ achieved at the expense of ‘what matters’? The second arises from a problem of attempting to build transversal dialogues across differently situated actors and the extent to which building a process of understanding of ‘what matters’ is enough to go beyond advocacy to selecting the appropriate action. The last is the dilemma of prioritisation. Is it more important to address poverty and gender sequentially or in tandem? Taking examples drawn from a research project on the interpretation of the gender Millennium Development Goal (MDG3) in Kenya and South Africa, and drawing on some of the conceptual resources associated with Amartya Sen's comparative approach to justice, the analysis attempts to address some of the challenges of the relationship of what works, what matters and the complexity of intersecting injustices.


Unterhalter, E. Gender and poverty reduction : the challenge of intersection. Agenda (2009) 23 (81) 14-24. [DOI: 10.1080/10130950.2009.9676250]

Gender and poverty reduction : the challenge of intersection

Published 1 January 2009