FEMINISATION OF POVERTY AND THE BURDEN OF THE OLDER WOMAN: BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY IN PRE-RETIREMENT LIFE AND THE ACCUMULATED DISADVANTAGE FOR OLDER WOMEN IN ALBANIA

Elona Dhembo

Abstract


The number one goal of the United Nations on the millennium development agenda is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. But poverty, as other problems, reveals more when examined from a multi-dimensional and dynamic perspective, and gender-sensitive lenses can make a major contribution. The “feminisation of poverty” (ranging from a higher incidence of women among the poor to poverty in terms of a lack of or limited choices) has been documented by research throughout the world as a result of the interaction of three main factors: the introduction of gender elements in the research and literature on poverty; the high incidence of specific groups of women under the poverty line; and the mismatch between women’s life cycles and policies in place. This paper provides additional evidence on the “feminisation of poverty” by looking at the case of Albania as representative of an under-researched category of countries emerging as new democracies in the 1990s. The argument put forward is that the intersectionality of gender and age results in a larger burden of poverty among older women. To support the argument, the paper goes beyond the limited official poverty statistics in Albania by looking at the economic activity of women and men, analysing the work-family reconciliation policy framework in Albania, and providing evidence of the work-family tension based on secondary data analysis. It is found that combining work and family life in the pre-retirement period in Albania presents more disadvantages for women than for men, leading to the  “feminisation of poverty” in the post-retirement stages in life. This is then fuelling a new trend for unemployed women and retired women to work as informal caregivers, filling the deficiency in care for the eldest and youngest people in their own families or in the families of wealthier women. The policy logic and respective provisions in Albania, at best, are not discouraging the phenomenon.


Keywords


feminisation of poverty; older women; work-life policies; Albania

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.7494/human.2014.13.4.175-184

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.