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Gender, Poverty and Old-Age Livelihoods in Urban South India in an Era of Globalisation


  • Penny Vera-Sanso


This article examines how older women's work in the informal economy contributes to family, national and global economies. It is argued here that protecting and promoting older women's livelihoods will not only serve the interests of older women, but will also have much wider social and economic significance. Drawing on fieldwork undertaken over the past two decades in urban South India, this article demonstrates that among the poorest families, rather than being dependent on spouse or family, older women are often self-supporting, support husbands and subsidise the incomes of younger relatives. Older women's work not only helps reduce family poverty, but is also critical to the distribution of agricultural produce in urban areas and supports India's global competitiveness. This article identifies how state and market responses to liberalisation and globalisation are threatening older women's livelihoods while failing to provide adequate safety nets for older women or their families.

Suggested Citation

  • Penny Vera-Sanso, 2012. "Gender, Poverty and Old-Age Livelihoods in Urban South India in an Era of Globalisation," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 324-340, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:40:y:2012:i:3:p:324-340
    DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2012.710322

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harris-White, Barbara & Sinha, Anushree (ed.), 2007. "Trade Liberalization and India's Informal Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195683318.
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