Female Poverty and inequality in the UK
The feminization of poverty is a concept that dates back to 1970's and was later popularized 1990's. It can be defined as an increase in the different poverty levels between women and men or between household headed by women and those headed by men. The term can also be used to specify increase of poverty due to gender inequalities. In the past it has been proven that women are more likely to be poorer than men, although their poverty has often been masked behind studies that focused mainly on male households (Ruspini 2000).
The term "feminisation of poverty" was popularized due to Peter Townsends et al (1987) research on poverty in the UK, during which he outlined that there are 4 main groups which make up the majority of the female poor. These consist of women who are charged with caring for children and other dependents. Statistically these women are unpaid and are unable to take up employment. This group also consists of lone women with children who dip in and out of employment (Browne, K. et al 2009). Then there are elderly women like pensioners who live alone. There are also women with low earnings where the incomes of others in the household do not contribute towards the total household income to enable the women’s income to go over the poverty line. Women unquestionably tend to experience more poverty than men because their labour, both unpaid and paid is undervalued, in addition, women have always experienced work in a different way from men. This outlines the issues of the "Dual Burden" and "triple shift" that women are faced with however, Townsend (1987) primary focus was on Female headed households which means that other variables such as the labour market was not taken into consideration (J, Rennings 2010).
Inequalities seem to be considerably lower in households in which women have access to full time formal employment. Although women's involvement in the labour market helped to keep their families out of poverty, their relatively low earnings were overall ineffective in moving their families up to the highest level of income distribution. This can be seen in the form of GPG (Gender Pay Gap) which is considered to be one of the most enduring features of the current labour market. In 2013 TUC provided the UK public with statistics that hourly rate of pay for men is £26.54 and for women £18.32, with the disparity even wider in part-time jobs (genderfocus.com 2005). This 15% difference in pay outlines the existence of occupation (Horizontal and Vertical) segregation. Horizontal segregation refers to differences in the amount each gender presents, across occupations and mostly applies to part-time female employees ( Davies, Hugh; Joshi, Heather 1998). According to research done by Erica Strauss in the book Women and Barriers (2007) women are not credited for their contribution to the workplace. She states that vertical segregation describes men's domination of the...