UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

Poverty Begins at Home? Questioning Some (Mis)conceptions About Children, Poverty and Privation in Female-headed Households

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AUTHOR Sylvia Chant
ORGANIZATION UNICEF
TYPE Working Paper
DATE 2006
TOPIC Child poverty and disparities
LANGUAGE English
ABSTRACT

It is often assumed that female-headed households are poorer than traditional male-headed households. In addition, a conjectured ‘inter-generational transmission of disadvantage’ in female-headed households is imagined to compromise not only the material well-being of children, but to compound other privations – emotional, psychological and social. A mounting body of evidence suggests that household hardship is not necessarily a good predictor of children’s quality of life, nor of their trajectories into adolescence and adulthood. This paper seeks to challenge some of the misconceptions about female household headship and poverty among children. Suggestions are offered for gender-sensitive policies which might help to ensure that children in poor households are guaranteed equality in basic needs and rights. 


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