Multidimensional, Gender-Sensitive Poverty Measurement: Perspectives from Fiji

Priya Chattier

The central argument in this article is that existing measures of poverty in Fiji and the Pacific are not sensitive to gender for three reasons. First, they use the household rather than the individual as the unit of analysis. This masks inequalities in the intra-household distribution of resources and burdens, resulting in inadequate understanding of gendered poverty (Bessell 2014). Second, they rely on data sources, which are often gender blind, limiting the potential for understanding the gendered nature of poverty. Third, poverty studies are often informed by experts without taking into account local dimensions of poverty and reflecting the interests and views of poor women and men. Drawing from the fieldwork in Fiji and employing a qualitative participatory approach, this article illuminates differences in the extent and nature of poverty at the individual level based on the participants’ poverty criteria. The rationale for engendering the measurement of poverty and the ways in which feminist research approaches inform research methodology and methods are discussed. Key findings on the gendered dimensions of poverty and hardship are presented along with what these may suggest as important steps toward the development of a new, gender-sensitive measure of deprivation. It is hoped that the gender perspective will contribute to widening the concept of poverty by identifying the need to measure poverty in a way that accounts for its complexity and multidimensionality.

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Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Phoebe Nadenbousch
February 22, 2023
Published in
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