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The Gender Economics: The Debate Over Gender Inequality and “Human” Poverty During The 1990s


  • M. Ufuk Turan

    () (Izmir Ekonomi Universitesi, Iktisadi ve Idari Bilimler Fakultesi, Iktisat Bolumu)


This paper aims to analyze the debate in the 1990s between two main approaches on gender economics, the Capabilities-entitlements and the New Poverty Agenda approaches. The objective of this paper is to discuss the main topics of the debate: the gender inequality and poverty. This paper intends to determine the main differences on those topics between those approaches. In addition to that, this paper discusses the refined definitions of those approaches on various topics of gender economics. The contribution of this paper to the existing literature is to present to the readers what the new developments in gender economics in the 1990s are and is to determine on which topics those main approaches have differences on gender economics In this paper, we present two different perspectives of the Gender economics. Since the globalization dynamics have stimulated poverty of women during the 1990s, many Gender economists ultimately give further emphases to the gender-aware parts of their economic theories. Therefore, the 1990s is the time period when serious debates on Gender issues with its theoretical framework are put forth to the literature. One side of the debate trusts market and its actors to alleviate poverty as a whole, and takes, first, GDP per capita, and then mortality statistics, life expectancy and literacy statistics as poverty indicators. However, the other side focuses more on the variables of the latter indicators above, namely Human Development Index1, and other variables such as technology achievement index and cultural liberty in order to measure the poverty of women and to improve the theoretical framework of the Gender economics. It is easy for researchers to find some data like GDP per capita for many countries; however, it is almost impossible to find all data, like mortality statistics, life expectancy, literacy statistics, technology achievement index and cultural liberty, for each of the underdeveloped countries. Although the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations strives to establish data pool and to include as many member countries as possible from the relevant international data agencies, for a significant number of countries data have been stil missing for one or more of those components. Since such data are not yet regularly available for a sufficient number of countries, although improving the coverage and quality of such data has been a priority for many international statistical communities for more than one decade, we are not able to make either econometric models or graphical explanations for any underdeveloped countries. In other words, such data have been revisited and attempted to improve many times since the early 1990s and still does. Since both the revision and improvement of the data has stil continued, we believe that such a few available data has not been reliable, yet. Therefore, we have not prepared an analytical and quantitative study. Instead we prefer to collect, discuss and present the debate with its detailed theoretical framework during the 1990s to the readers of this study. All the definitions we use in our theoretical framework, if it is not indicated otherwise, are borrowed from the Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme. We only present two theories of the Gender economics because the other economic theories, like heterodox economics or conventional economics, ultimately combine their theories with one of the theories above in order to explain the poverty of women in all over the world.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Ufuk Turan, 2003. "The Gender Economics: The Debate Over Gender Inequality and “Human” Poverty During The 1990s," Ege Academic Review, Ege University Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, vol. 3(1), pages 16-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:ege:journl:v:3:y:2003:i:1:p:16-23

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    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination


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