A series of phenomena within poverty affect men and women differently, resulting in poor women outnumbering poor men, women suffering more severe poverty than men, and female poverty displaying a more marked tendency to increase, largely because of the rise in the number of female-headed households. This set of phenomena has come to be termed the ‘feminization of poverty’.
Although the idea of the feminization of poverty has been questioned, it has pointed out the need to acknowledge that poverty affects men and women in different ways, and that gender is a factor — just like age, ethnic factors and geographical location, among others — which influences poverty and increases women’s vulnerability to it.
Source: United Nations Economic Commission of Latin America (ECLAC). 2004. Understanding poverty from a gender perspective. Women and Development Unit. Santiago, Chile.