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‘ M issing’ Dimensions of Poverty and Gender. Sanjeewanie Kariyawasam Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA). Introduction. Poverty is thought to be a multidimensional phenomenon But focus often only on consumption/income dimensions because of lack of survey data

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m issing dimensions of poverty and gender

‘Missing’ Dimensions of Poverty and Gender

Sanjeewanie Kariyawasam

Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA)

  • Poverty is thought to be a multidimensional phenomenon
  • But focus often only on consumption/income dimensions because of lack of survey data
  • Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) on the ‘missing dimensions of poverty’ study
    • Employment Quality, Empowerment, Dignity, Physical Safety, Subjective and Psychological Wellbeing
  • Survey Module was piloted in Badulla District
study frame
Study Frame
  • Methodology
    • Stratified random sample
    • Sample size 229 (55% of respondents are females)
    • For this study, unit of analysis is respondent
    • Odds ratio analysis and factor analysis to construct deprivation
  • Focus - Is there a gender difference in terms of:
    • Employment Quality
      • Having a good and decent job is associated with being out of poverty
      • Indicators: Protection, Job satisfaction, Discouraged employment
    • Subjective and Psychological Wellbeing
      • Not a dimension of poverty, but the expected end-result of development
      • Indicators: Subjective wellbeing – happiness and life satisfaction

Psychological wellbeing – meaning in life, autonomy, competence, relatedness

employment quality protection
Employment Quality; Protection
  • Substantially more men are employed than women, though women are slightly better educated – in line with LFS data
  • Low protection (60% deprived) from employment due to informality but study finds no gender difference
employment quality job satisfaction
Employment Quality; Job satisfaction

84% are dissatisfied about their job

    • two stage composite index, deprived on one or more indicators
  • More females report experiencing unfair treatment at work than males
employment quality discouraged employment
Employment Quality; Discouraged employment
  • There is a gender dimension in relation to why people are not employed
  • \
  • Females are not working mainly due to child care and household work
    • but are they interested but discouraged from looking for work?
subjective wellbeing
Subjective Wellbeing
  • High levels of reporting of overall happiness across both genders
    • 90% are very happy or fairly happy
    • Among women lack of happiness is linked to low socioeconomic wellbeing
  • High levels of life satisfaction across both genders
    • Over 90% are satisfied with life overall, food, local security, family, dignity, free choice, ability to help others and religion
    • More women than men are not satisfied with their ability to exercise free choice
    • Women who are not working are less satisfied about health, education, and work
psychological wellbeing
Psychological Wellbeing
  • 75% of respondents have meaning in their life
    • Males less positive about having clear meaning in life, satisfactory meaning and clear sense of what gives meaning to life
    • Higher educational attainments associated with having clear meaning of life irrespective of gender
  • 84% of respondents have autonomy
    • 10% of both genders said they are not free to decide how to lead own life
    • Males are less positive about freedom to express ideas and opinions
  • 93% of respondents are positive about their competence
    • Males less likely to say that others tell them that they are capable and feel a sense of accomplishment
    • Females are less likely to say that they feel very capable
  • 82% of respondents feel relatedness
    • More males among those who said deprived


  • Deprivation in terms of employment quality
    • Gender aspects on discouraged employment only
  • However, there are high levels of subjective and psychological wellbeing
    • Gender aspects in autonomy, competence and life satisfaction with work, education etc

Issues for further consideration

  • Implications for using a single indicator or a dimension to compute generalised‘deprivation’
  • Study findings generalisable to Badulla