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Women's well-being, poverty, and work intensity


  • Maria Sagrario Floro


High work intensity, as a result of doing two tasks at a time, is an important dimension of well-being. For many poor, working women, it represents a necessary means of coping when real wages fall, prices rise and basic services are cut. And yet existing standard-of-living measurements and household economic models fail to address this important dimension of time use. This paper argues that the lack of consideration of the length and intensification of work time is a serious neglect in the study of women's well-being.The first section of the paper examines the importance of time use as a determinant of the quality of life, particularly for working women. It also explores the relationship between poverty and work intensity or the simultaneous performance of two or more tasks. The theoretical implications of work intensity on household models are discussed in the second section of the paper. A household well-being function that incorporates both goods and time-use components as arguments is introduced in a single (working)-person household framework. When time use, particularly work intensity, is taken into account, the notion of joint production becomes relevant and subsequent complications arise. Finally, the need for reassessment of present time-use survey methods and of current policy evaluations is discussed in the concluding section of the paper. The seriousness of the effects of work intensity, particularly on women's health and children's well-being, strongly suggests that this qualitative dimension of time use deserves urgent attention from scholars and policy-makers.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Sagrario Floro, 1995. "Women's well-being, poverty, and work intensity," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(3), pages 1-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:1:y:1995:i:3:p:1-25
    DOI: 10.1080/714042246

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    Cited by:

    1. Palmer-Jones, Richard & Jackson, Cecile, 1997. "Work intensity, gender and sustainable development," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 39-62, February.
    2. Naidu, Sirisha C., 2011. "Gendered effects of work and participation in collective forest management," MPRA Paper 31091, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Cristina Carrasco & Marius Domínguez, 2003. "Género y usos del tiempo: nuevos enfoques metodológicos," Revista de Economía Crítica, Asociación de Economía Crítica, vol. 1, pages 129-152.
    4. Sarah Gammage, 2015. "Labour market institutions and gender equality," Chapters,in: Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality, chapter 12, pages 315-339 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Naidu, Sirisha C., 2011. "Rural Livelihoods, Forest Access and Time Use: A Study of Forest Communities in Northwest India," MPRA Paper 31060, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. VAN DEN BROECK, Goedele & MAERTENS, Miet, 2015. "Does Off-farm Employment Make Women in Rural Senegal Happy?," Working Papers 232593, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    7. Diksha Arora, 2014. "Gender Differences in Time Poverty in Rural Mozambique," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2014_05, University of Utah, Department of Economics.


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