The Feminization of Poverty

Female-Headed Households

“Perceptions of Poverty Among Women in Rural Communities in Trinidad and Tobago” that was the title of my undergraduate research project.  I chose this title because these women were experiencing an arising trend as we entered the 21st Century. Many were in what was described as “female-headed households.” Female-headed households were those households with a female as the sole breadwinner, more often in the absence of fathers. The research showed though that sometimes the fathers were present, but changing circumstances led to the women becoming the sole breadwinner. More importantly, what was noted was the resilience of the women and how they were finding ways to manage and support their daily needs.

The Feminization of Poverty

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~abbat22l/classweb/feminizationofpoverty/

One lady of East Indian descent stood out; she was a younger woman in her 30’s, married to a man in his 60’s. They had two children, and her husband, being diabetic was no longer able to work, and he depended on social welfare to contribute. This woman found her way into a programme paying a modest wage, and she took the business skills she was exposed to from this programme to set up a simple shop. She also began a home garden using troughs to reduce her food bill. What resilience!   But this is hardly the case for all. Trinidad and Tobago Hard Core News recently highlighted the plight of a single mom of East Indian descent, who as she puts it, has a house, “a roof of vines”.

T&T HARD CORE NEWS

ProducerCameraman/Editor-Dave RodriguezNEWS ROOM 1868 333-3940

Posted by T&T HARD CORE News on Saturday, August 25, 2018

In this story, this single mom is experiencing the feminization of poverty at its worst. Unlike many of the women met during the research project, this single mom is unemployed, without means of contacting her children’s father, and without social welfare. While this single mom is “looking to see if she could get out of the situation”, which includes having no basic amenities, the road looks long and rugged without some ‘angel investors.’

It is imperative for the society to care for the rights of the child. The rights of children sometimes are violated even when parents do desire to do better, in such cases, the community makes that difference.

The Feminization of Poverty

https://www.facebook.com/hardcorennewsroom/photos/a.244460706211044/244461216210993/?type=3&theater

In 1995, the United Nations adopted two definitions of poverty. One was absolute poverty where it referred to being deprived of basic human needs, such as sanitation facilities, and so forth. Three years later another definition put forward by the United Nations referred to poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity, and the resulting consequences.  It is in connection with the second definition that another single mother comes to remembrance. This single mom of Afro heritage had two sons, who were smart, well taken care of. In conversation one day, she shares appreciating being part of the lower socioeconomic group, but wanting better for her sons. She also shared that there were limited options and opportunities based on her education and skills. What did she do? This mom consciously chose prostitution to support her household. She spoke of how well it paid, and how she cared for her sexual health and chose high-end clients. Again, moral judgments aside, what resilience!

Unfortunately, not all single moms with sons would have the same options and or opportunities before them. Trinidad and Tobago Hard Core News shared the story of one such mom-

T&T HARD CORE NEWS

ProducerCameraman/Editor-Dave RodriguezNEWS ROOM 1868 333-3940

Posted by T&T HARD CORE News on Monday, August 20, 2018

This mother has six sons and all of their fathers, one deceased, are absent. Her eldest is 17 years old and her youngest is seven. She is employed, but her income can only do so much. How does this family survive? As the young mother kept saying, “Only God knows, only God knows.”  Now, that is not fully true; since their story is being shared, and any one of us can act as ‘earthly angels’ offering support to this family.

The Feminization of Poverty

https://mdxipe.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/the-feminisation-of-poverty/

One woman in my research project looked at me and said, “Darling let me tell you something, for every one child count five, five years where you are ‘tied’.”

Therefore, even as we give and provide hope for these families, is there not wisdom and understanding in our young women that there is a link between family planning and the feminization of poverty?

By Kerriann Toby


Kerriann Toby holds a Master of Counselling and Bachelor of Psychology. She is a dynamic therapist, trained mediator; and educator since 2000. In addition to being a trained educator, mediator, and therapist, she is a certified Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Professional. Kerriann has also trained in cyber counseling and holds clinical registration with Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) & Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).

In mid-October 2015 she initiated operations of KarryOn geared toward the provision of a variety of enhancement and developmental services for the individual, groups and the organization; e-Coaching/Counseling, Mediation, EAP Services and the creative presentation of psycho-social information. She can be reached at karryonservices@mail.com.

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