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Understanding Poverty


  • Anne Jerneck


Policies and strategies to fight global environmental degradation, gender inequality, and poverty are often inadequate, ineffective, or insufficient. In response, this article seeks potential synergies and leverage points between three significant interrelated discourses that are often treated separately—development, gender, and environment. Proceeding from a brief history of development thinking and poverty definitions, I describe indicators, strategies, and approaches to poverty reduction and gender equality. Second, I analyze how targeting, mainstreaming, and market-based initiatives all fail both to distinguish empirical from analytical gender and to incorporate environment and gender into development policy and action—despite their key role in meeting the normative goal of poverty reduction. Third, through a political-ecology lens, I suggest an integrated approach to poverty, inequality, and socioenvironmental challenges that arise at the intersections of development, gender, and environment, and for that, I draw examples from research on social and environmental change and action in sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Jerneck, 2015. "Understanding Poverty," SAGE Open, , vol. 5(4), pages 21582440156, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:sagope:v:5:y:2015:i:4:p:2158244015614875
    DOI: 10.1177/2158244015614875

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