Woman and Poverty - A Human Rights approach

Despite the global commitment to gender equality in the Millennium Development Goals, women still form the majority of the world's poorest people. This suggests that it is not sufficient to approach the problem of gendered poverty merely as one of development. Instead, attention is increasingly turning to the role of human rights law in addressing this issue. Yet, what can human rights contribute to the complex problem of women in poverty? Equality is universally recognized as a human right. However, poverty has not traditionally been regarded as a human rights issue, but instead as a misfortune, analogous to illness, or even as the fault of those living in poverty, whether due to idleness, misjudgement or lack of talent. Nevertheless, it is argued in this article that the principle of human rights has much to offer in approaching the question of gendered poverty. At the very least, it signifies that addressing women in poverty is not simply an act of magnanimity on the part of the world's nations. Addressing the specific issue of gendered poverty should be central to states' human rights commitments made both internationally and domestically. And in a world in which power and influence are increasingly wielded by large corporations, such commitments should extend to all who exercise power.

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African Journal of International and Comparative Law