IDS Bulletin Vol. 28 Nos. 3

Editorial: Tactics and Trade?Offs:

Published on 1 July 1997

Summaries The contributions in this Bulletin challenge the growing tendency of development agencies to conflate gender issues with poverty concerns. The selective terms on which this has been done has allowed issues of gender discrimination and injustice which affect the well?being of women qua women to disappear from the agenda while simultaneously sidelining the gender?specific ways in which poverty affects men. The author argues that a different understanding of the links between gender and poverty is possible if the concept of entitlements is analysed through an institutional framework. Entitlements are generated through the rules, norms and practices which characterise different institutional arenas – market?based exchange; state provision; and the ‘moral economy’ of community and kinship – and which determine who gets what and on what terms. Inasmuch as the inequalities encoded in the rules and practices of different institutional arenas ‘entitle’ women and men differently and unequally within different social groups, such an approach draws attention to the possibility that inequality, deprivation and insecurity will be diversely constituted across a population along axes of economic class as well as gender, caste and other forms of social inequality. Poverty as a result of entitlement failure or shortfall curtails choices and imposes painful, and often gender?specific, trade offs between different dimensions of basic well?being. Equally, however, gender differentiates the experience of poverty and wealth, introducing inequalities in the kinds of entitlements which women and men can mobilise and the forms of agency they can bring to bear in negotiating meanings and challenging distributions.

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Kabeer, N. (1997) Editorial: Tactics and Trade?Offs: . IDS Bulletin 28(3): 1-13

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published by
Institute of Development Studies
Kabeer, Naila


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