PERCEPTION OF POVERTY BY WOMEN AND MEN AND THEIR COPING STRATEGIES IN SURULERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF LAGOS STATE; A QUALITATIVE STUDY


Content

ABSTRACT

Gender and perception of poverty in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State is the focus of this study. The main objectives of the study were to examine the way men and women perceive poverty and to understand the gender-based differences in the perception of poverty and to explore the effects of poverty coping strategies with/without taking into account the gender-based differences in perceptions of poverty and to assess the impact of intra household inequalities on household welfare and to examine factors influencing poverty among gender. A Feminist theory was employed to further embellish the research work. Focus Group Discussion was conducted on thirty respondents that comprise of men and women residing in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos. This research work checked if there are similarities and differences in the way men and women perceive poverty. The findings indicate that there is indeed a relationship between gender and perception of poverty in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State. After relevant discussion on the topic, it was discovered that there are similarities and differences in the way men and women perceive poverty. It was also found that men and women employ different poverty coping strategies. It was also found that impact of intra-household inequalities on household welfare is very high and a balance between men and women in the house-hold welfare is glamour for by the respondents. It was also discovered that there is indeed a relationship between the perception of factors responsible for poverty by men and women in Surulere Local Government.

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page

Certification                                                                                                         

Dedication                                                                                                           

Acknowledgement                                                                                               

Abstract                                                                                                               

Table of content                                                                                                   

CHAPTER ONE

1.0             Background to the study                                                                                           

1.1             Statement of the Problem                                                                  

1.2             Research Questions                                                                            

1.3             Objective of study                                                                             

1.4             Significance of Study

1.5             Scope and Delimitation of the Study

1.6             Definition of Terms

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

2.0             Introduction

2.1             literature Review

2.2             Theoretical Orientation

2.3             Conceptual Framework

2.4             Hypotheses/Proposition

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.0             Introduction

3.1             The Study Population

3.2             Sample Size and Sampling Procedure

3.3             Research Instrument and Data Collection Methods

3.4             Data   Analysis Methods.

3.5             Field Experience

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION AND PRESENTATION

4.0             Introduction

4.1             Socio-Demographic Characteristic of Respondents

4.2             Result

4.3             Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

5.0             Summary

5.1             Conclusions

5.2             Recommendation

5.3             References

5.4             Appendix

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY


1.0       INTRODUCTION

It is evident based on the previous research carried out on gender and poverty that there is no definition but definitions of gender and poverty. It can also be deduced that a lot of research has been carried out on gender and poverty but little has been done on gender and perception of poverty especially from gender perspective.

The interest in analysing the phenomenon of poverty from a gender perspective is rooted in the international women’s movement and it is based on the need to recognize that poverty affects men and women in a different way. It is possible to identify the gender factors that increase or decrease the probability of individuals experiencing poverty, and how the characteristics of poverty are different for men and women.

Moreover, a gender perspective enhances the conceptualization of poverty because it goes beyond a descriptive analysis to look at the causes of poverty. It approaches poverty as a process, thereby giving it a more dynamic perspective. In addition, a gender perspective contributes to the design of policies allowing measures to be directed at the severest poverty and the most vulnerable populations and these populations are women.

Notable advances have been made in the theoretical development of both concepts over the last few decades. In the case of poverty, although the most frequent definition refers to the lack of income, different approaches have emerged as regards its conceptualization and measurement.

Altimir(2000). poverty is a “situational syndrome in which the associated factors include Under consumption, malnutrition, precarious living conditions, low educational levels, poor sanitary conditions, an unstable position in the productive apparatus, feelings of discouragement and anomaly, little participation in the mechanisms of social integration and perhaps adherence to a particular scale of values which differs to some extent from that of the rest of society” (Altimir, 2000).

 

 

Poverty is associated with the undermining of a range of key human attributes, including health. The poor are exposed to greater personal and environmental health risks, are less well nourished, have less information and are less able to access health care; they thus have a higher risk of illness and disability. Conversely, illness can reduce household savings, lower learning ability, reduce productivity, and lead to a diminished quality of life, thereby perpetuating or even increasing poverty.

Poverty is often defined in absolute terms of low income less than US$2 a day, for example. But in reality, the consequences of poverty exist on a relative scale. The poorest of the poor, around the world, have the worst health. Within countries, the evidence shows that in general the lower an individual’s socioeconomic position the worse their health. There is a social gradient in health that runs from top to bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum. This is a global phenomenon, seen in low, middle and high income countries.

Poverty according to business dictionary poverty can be defined as a Condition where people's basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met.

And the concept of gender, as a theoretical and methodological approach to the cultural construction of sexual differences that alludes the inequalities between the female and male sexes and to the way the two aspects relate to each other, has become an increasingly important category of analysis.

Gender refers to the personal sexual identity of an individual, regardless of the person's biological and outward sex. How people define masculinity and femininity can vary based on the individual's background and surrounding culture. Differing societal expectations in different cultures establish the behavioral, psychological and physical attributes that are associated one gender or another.

Gender is defined by FAO as ‘the relations between men and women, both perceptual and material. Gender is not determined biologically, as a result of sexual characteristics of either women or men, but is constructed socially. It is a central organizing principle of societies, and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution’ (FAO, 2002). Despite this definition, gender is often misunderstood as being the promotion of women only. However, as we see from the FAO definition, gender issues focus on women and on the relationship between men and women, their roles, access to and control over resources, division of labour, interests and needs. Gender relations affect household security, family well-being, planning, production and many other aspects of life (Bravo-Baumann, 2003).

Much has been written about gender and about poverty. It is arguable, however, that the relationships between the two have not been adequately understood. Nor are they being reflected in policy prescriptions. At one level, the relationship between gender disadvantage and poverty appears to be quite straightforward, as in the tendency to equate women, or female-headed households, with the "vulnerable" or the poor. Alternatively, "investing" in female education is seen as an efficient means of reducing poverty and enhancing growth. While these arguments may have some empirical validity, although to varying degrees in different contexts, the gender analysis of poverty also needs to unravel how gender differentiates the social mechanisms leading to poverty. This is an important question, which has received relatively little attention in recent policy debates. Another important part of the story is to understand how these limited views of the relationships between gender and poverty are being shaped by the emerging poverty models and (neoliberal) policy prescriptions for poverty alleviation—the emphasis on (female) primary education as the route out of poverty being one example, and the residualist "safety nets" for women and other "vulnerable" groups being another.

Whether measured by income/consumption or the broader array of entitlements/capabilities indicators, the incidence of poverty among women appears to be on the increase, according to many increasing family break-up, low productivity, a deteriorating environment, the economic recession of the 1980s (including economic crisis and structural adjustment policies in the developing countries), the market transition in the former socialist countries, and “welfare reform” in the United States. The adverse effects of these factors on women are in turn exacerbated by intra-household inequalities which leave women unprepared for and especially vulnerable to socio-economic downturns, changes in marital status, or natural disasters. WID/GAD researchers. The main factors behind this trend are population growth, the emigration of men, increasing family break-up, low productivity, a deteriorating environment, the economic recession of the 1980s (including economic crisis and structural adjustment policies in the developing countries), the market transition in the former socialist countries, and “welfare reform” in the United States. The adverse effects of these factors on women are in turn exacerbated by intra-household inequalities which leave women unprepared for and especially vulnerable to socio-economic downturns, changes in marital status, or natural disasters.

The perception is growing around the globe that poverty is becoming increasingly feminized, that is, that an increasing proportion of the world’s poor are female. A 1992 UN report found that “the number of rural women living in poverty in the developing countries has increased by almost 50% over the past 20 years to an awesome 565 million, 374 million of them in Asia, and 129 million in Sub-Saharan Africa. While poverty among rural men has increased over the last 20 years by 30%, among women it has increased by 48%” (Power, 2000, p. 5). The feminization of poverty was a key concern of the women’s caucus of the World Summit on Social Development. According to the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995, “More than one billion people in the world today, the great majority of whom are women, live in unacceptable conditions of poverty, mostly in the developing countries” (United Nations, 1996, p. 37). Buvinic (2000) has written: “Women now account for a growing percentage of the world’s poor.” And a publication of the United Nations Development Programme states: “70% of the world’s poor are women (Buvinic 2000).

According to Haydar (2005: 240) a “significant number of people in the world today live under conditions of extreme poverty and most of them lack access to basic goods such as food, water and health care”. In addition, “everyone agrees that the conditions of the poor are atrocious" (Haydar, 2005: 240). We therefore urgently need to increase our efforts to reduce poverty. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) representatives also recognized that the world is at a crossroads and that people will have to unite in the fight against poverty. The adoption of the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development was also a confirmation of the commitment of the people of the world from both rich and poor countries to the United Nations (UN) Millennium Declaration. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that emerged from the UN Millennium Declaration were very specific, with clear measurable targets such as reducing poverty among the more than 1 billion poor people worldwide by 2015 (Human

Development Report, 2005: 17).

Despite widespread poverty and the commitment from the vast majority of countries there is no agreement as to who is supposed to do what and when to achieve the goal of alleviating poverty. It is generally reasoned that responsibility rests at one of two levels.

In a given location the responsibility of extreme poverty is attributed to domestic conditions such as the institutions, policies, practices and values of that location. In addition, national governments normally help local governments to improve the living conditions of people. However, there is also a view that global institutions and the practices and policies of various international actors must play a significant role in addressing extreme poverty (Haydar, 2005: 240).

From this perspective the fight against poverty requires the promotion of institutional and policy changes both at the local level and at international level. It is however difficult to determine which of the domestic or global institutions are more responsible to lead the fight against poverty. Nevertheless, I believe that international and multi-national organisations need to participate and contribute more to poverty projects. For example, aid donors representing the rich nations need to be increasingly interested in how poor people in poor countries understand poverty. However, it must be emphasized that addressing poverty from a global angle does not imply the rejection of the measurement of the impoverished local circumstances people are living in such as lack of access to food, clean water and shelter (Bastiaensen, De Herdt & D’Exelle, 2005).

Indeed, I want to reiterate that poverty eradication campaigns should be approached from both a global and domestic perspective. Accordingly, global initiatives should establish factors that may impact on the well-being of communities, while governments at the domestic level should assist local communities to fight against local conditions that may prevent them from securing their basic necessities. A key question in this regard is what local communities themselves think contribute to poverty in their communities.

Although poverty is considered to be a universal problem, it is especially pronounced in Africa (Human Development Report 2005: 21). Note the 2003 Human Development Report which reported that 25 of the world’s poorest countries are all in Africa and that most of these countries are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, with countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia receiving very low rankings in terms of human development (Human Development Report 2003: 200).

To further demonstrate the impact of poverty on the African continent the results of the Human Development Index (HDI) showed that twelve of the 18 countries that have registered lower scores on the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2003 than in 1990 are in Sub-Saharan Africa (Human Development Report, 2005: 21).2 Southern Africa recorded the steepest declines with South Africa falling 35 places and Botswana 21places. This decline on the HDI are mostly contributed to economic stagnation, slow progress in education and the spread of HIV / AIDS (Human Development Report, 2005: 22). An alternative approach to understand the impact of poverty is to look at levels of undernourishment. Again high levels of undernourishment were found in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 24 of the 45 countries in Africa overall indicating that more than 25% of their population is undernourished (Human Development Report, 2003: 200).

It is evident that Africa is confronted with a major poverty problem and needs to increase its efforts to lessen the devastating impact it has on millions of people. Numerous initiatives have been implemented in recent years, including those by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and various debt relief schemes but it is uncertain whether these initiatives will meet the Millennium Development Goals (Williams, 2005: 532). The British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa suggested that three changes were needed if Africa wants to succeed in the battle against poverty. There must be continued improvements in governance in Africa, a substantial increase in aid from the international community and a significant change in the way donors do business in Africa (Williams, 2005: 532). There are however some studies that have found that although foreign aid has increased, real per capita growth has not been present and that increased investment did not enable poor countries to break the vicious cycle of poverty (Erixon, 2003: 27). For example, aid has not boosted economic growth in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania (Erixon, 2003: 28). The overwhelming opinion among investors is that political stability and good governance is needed for any investment to make a significant return.

All considered, African countries need to build systems of good governance which are effective and accountable to Africa’s people and simultaneously address areas of concern such as health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and corruption.

The roots of the special poverty problems of African women are to be found not in globalization but in restricted property rights, weak governance and frequency of civil conflict--themselves interrelated. The economic vulnerability of poor African women flows mostly from their weakly defined property rights to major productive assets, such as land or cattle, in the many countries where a combination of custom and laws restrict their ability to own and manage land. Perversely, restrictions on women's rights to land coexist with the reality that women are the main cultivators undertaking about 80 percent of the work in food storage and transportation, 90 percent of the work of hoeing and weeding, and 60 percent of the work in harvesting and marketing. (International Food Policy Research Institute 2000).

The ‘feminization of poverty’ is a feature of much of the developing world, with females accounting for half of the world’s population but 70 percent of the poor (Moghadam, 2005).
Major causal factors of poverty among women in Sub-Saharan Africa—mainly rural women in the countries of the tropical belt. 3 Of course, there are significant differences in the condition of different groups of women in the various countries. However, they share a common predicament, rooted in the interaction of three major factors: weak governance, traditional restrictions on women property rights, and violent civil conflict. Although each of these factors has been present at one time or another elsewhere, it is only in Sub-Saharan Africa that all three have been present in contemporary times--as shown among others by Collier, 2007, Cornwall, 2005, and Gordon, (2005).

The incidence of poverty in Nigeria has been on the increase since 1980. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) (2007) revealed that the incidence of poverty increased sharply both between 1980 and 1985 (from 28.1 percent to 46.3percent) and between 1992 and 1996 (from 42.7 percent to 65.6 percent) though there were declines between 1985 and 1992 (from 46.3 percent to 42.7 percent) and between 1996 and 2004 (from 65.6 percent to 54.4 percent).

The 28.1 percent figure for 1980 translated to 17.7 million poor persons whereas there were34.7 million poor persons in 1985. Despite the drop in poverty level in 1992, the population in poverty was 39.2 million, while by 1996, the number of poor persons in the country had increased sharply to 67.1 million. However, while the poverty incidence rate reduced from 65.6percent in 1996 to 54.4 percent in 2004, the number of poor people increased significantly from about 67 million people to about 70 million people. This large-scale poverty has led to great deterioration in human conditions.

The reasons for the worsening poverty situation between 1980 and 1985 were multiple According to World Bank (2000). Some of these include:

·         The falling oil revenue arising from sharp decreases in the international price of oil coupled with decreased production—oil revenue crashed from US$26 billion in 1980to US$6 billion in 1986;

·         The Nigerian government seeing these declines as temporary and continuing to borrow externally against the expectations of a return of higher oil prices, resulting in debt overhang; and

·         The slow, even negative, growth in the economy, especially in agriculture, which resulted from government policies that induced adverse relative price changes, encouraged imports, including food, thereby stifling nonoil production.

In Nigeria today, most people subsist on a mere N150 (slightly more than $1) a day, hence the tag: a potentially rich country with a poor population. A large proportion of Nigerians lack adequate health care, shelter and remunerative jobs. Nigerian women are the most affected being marginalized in decision making process, employment, economic opportunities and access to credit. Most of them suffer from illiteracy, high maternal mortality, low income and poverty (CBN/World Bank, 2000).

Statistics on poverty in Nigeria indicate that 70 per cent of poor Nigerians are women. Indeed more than a half of rural women live below the nationally defined poverty line, lacking access to basic education, decent nutrition, adequate health and social services. Nigerian women, like their counterparts in developing countries perform complex multiple roles as mothers, workers and managers of households, taking care of their husbands, children and members of their extended families. They perform the majority of the work in food processing and dominate the rural and urban informal sector activities. Yet less than 20 percent of women own their own farm lands, fewer than 10 percent have access to agricultural inputs and less than 5 percent have access to agricultural credits to enhance their productivity and incomes (Chinsman, 2005). Women in the towns are engaged predominantly in the informal sector, in commerce and distributive trade.

In Nigeria, poverty is concentrated among unemployed youths, small farm households headed by informal sector workers, women and elderly persons without social safety nets. Poverty is a state of deprivation and is manifested in illiteracy, lack of access to water, poor housing and declining purchasing power. Poverty has deepened in Nigeria since the 80s and many Nigerians, especially women, are worse off today than they were in the 60s.theincidence,, depth and severity of poverty have tasked to the limit the ability of the extended family to serve as a safety net to the extent that poverty reduction strategies in the country are synonymous with economic growth and development strategies. Hence poverty reduction is one of the most urgent tasks facing the government. The critical challenge is, first, to have a clear understanding of the specific causes of, in this case female poverty, at the micro level, and to develop appropriate strategies to reduce and in the long term eradicate poverty.

According to Ilori (2001), a total of N 1.675 billion has been disbursed as loans to cooperative groups. Despite this huge allocation to FEAP, it has not produced the needed relief. This is probably due to the hijacking of the program by unintended beneficiaries who are not poor but are able to comply with the guidelines for the award of the credit. In addition, one can conclude that the program (FEAP) was not conceived on any rigorous analysis of poverty in Nigeria.

The chronically poor has been described by World Bank (2009) as one that do not have access to adequate shelter (manifested in poor houses and overcrowding), have only one or two pairs of clothing worn at all times, do extensive physical work either in the farm or in other occupations and the children in poor households cannot afford school uniforms and fees and/or transportation costs to and from school. Therefore, they resort to doing menial jobs like collection and sale of firewood, hawking of ready to eat food and load carrying in the markets and other public places.

However, poverty, which has become pronounced and widespread in Nigeria, was not so until after the end of the oil boom era which started with the collapse of oil prices in the international market in the early 1980s. The emergence of oil in the Nigerian economy in the 1970s made the agricultural sector, which hitherto was the mainstay of the economy, to be neglected. This was attributed to the shift in the terms of trade together with the heavy spending in unviable investments, designed to raise the economy’s productive capacity and human capital.

Consequently, farm resources (most especially labor) migrated to the urban areas to supply the much-needed labor in construction works at a wage higher than what was obtainable on the farms. Hence, agricultural production fell considerably making Nigeria (an almost food self-sufficient nation) to become a net importer of food. Oil also turned Nigeria to a mono-export product economy. In addition, when oil prices fell (leading to a fall in revenue and per capital income), the government increased borrowing abroad to sustain its pre-oil shock expenditure pattern instead of cutting them. As a result, foreign debt accumulated which led to the short fall in social sector expenditure and consequently, a fall in social services, making the welfare system to fall apart.

Though the military government of 1983 introduced across the board budgetary cuts and administrative restrictions on import and foreign exchange transactions, the welfare status of the people only increased marginally. This is because of their failure to address the economy’s structural weakness of low productivity in the agricultural sector, uncompetitive manufacturing sector, significant trade distortions, and cumbersome regulatory framework. In 1986, a further collapse in oil prices to US$14 per barrel made the government adopt the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) supported by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. This program was coupled with exchange rate and trade policy reforms aimed at revitalizing the non oil economy especially agriculture with stabilization policies designed to restore price stability and balance of payment equilibrium. This policy change brought mixed feelings. The farmers and agro-allied industries gained from the rise in the prices of food and cash crops and so were other industries competing with imported goods. However, other industries depending on Imported raw materials suffered (World Bank). Furthermore, it was claimed by World Bank that the adjustment brought about a decrease in poverty with 1.3 million people moving out of poverty and mean per capita household expenditure rose by 34 percent between1985 and 1992.Since 1992, the country witnessed the expansion of fiscal deficit, mismanagement of public resources and half-hearted implementation of structural reforms leading to economic crises. But the new government in 1994, instead of tackling the causes of the mounting economic crises, attempted to suppress its symptoms by centralizing all foreign exchange transactions, maintaining an increasingly over-valued official exchange rate, setting up of committee to nation foreign exchange to the private sector, and placing a ceiling on interest rates significantly below the prevailing inflation levels made poverty to be on the rise again.

The consequent drastic fall in human welfare conditions made the federal government in 1994to launch a poverty assessment in partnership with the World Bank, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) now Department for International Development (DFID). The results of the poverty assessment led to the development of a strategy for poverty relief by setting up a Poverty Alleviation Program Development Committee (PAPDC). A draft national strategy called Community Action Program for Poverty Alleviation (CAPPA) was formulated. By 1997, the Family Economic Advancement Program (FEAP) was started with Decree No. 11 of August to reduce poverty in Nigeria. The FEAP was established to stimulate economic activities by providing loans directly to Nigerians as the capital required to set and run cottage industries. The design and manufacturing of appropriate plants, machinery, and equipment of the industries are to be sourced locally. Since1997, the federal government has allocated a sizeable chunk of resources to this program. In1997 and 1998, a sum of N7.6 billion3 loan able fund was allocated to the program. By 1997, the program’s loan able fund was boosted by N1.1 billion, bringing the total loan-able find at its disposal to N8.7 billion.

The country since the inception of democratic government in 1994 has not left out the effort to

reduce poverty. An adhoc poverty reduction program, Poverty Alleviation Program, (PAP) was

implemented in 2000 basically to provide jobs for the poor unemployed for a time period. However, this was replaced by the National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) in 2001 to coordinate and monitor all poverty eradication efforts at federal, state, and local government levels. It also assists the federal government to formulate poverty reduction policies nationwide, and intervenes in specific poverty reduction areas to provide social protection through economic empowerment as may be needed. However, despite all these, poverty has continued to be on the increase in Nigeria.

Rural Nigerians principally draw their livelihoods from agriculture. However, many rural households cannot earn sustainable livelihoods based on their incomes from agriculture or from many of the other economic activities they pursue.

According to Omonona (2006), those rural households in the lowest quintile group receive about 49 percent of their total per capita income from nonfarm employment and about 51 percent from farm employment (see table below). In specific terms, the percent of total per capita income, among the poorest quintile, from farm self-employment is highest (34 percent). This is followed by nonfarm wage employment (28percent), nonfarm self-employment (21 percent) and farm wage employment (17 percent).

However, as one moves from the lowest to the highest quintile, nonfarm employment becomes a more important source of income than the farm employment as the percent contribution of nonfarm employment increased to 59 percent while those of farm employment have decreased to 41 percent as we move from the lowest to the highest quintile. The share of nonfarm wage employment in total per capita income increased from 28 to 33 percent while that of nonfarm self-employment increased from 21 percent to 25 percent. As for farm income, the share of total per capita income from farm wage employment decreased drastically from about 17 percent to about 9 percent. That of farm self-employment decreased marginally from 34 to 33 percent.

Broad efforts to enhance the productivity, profitability, and sustained growth of the rural economy of Nigeria will be necessary to enhance the resilience of Nigerian agricultural households and to lift them out of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. Work under the Agricultural Policy Support Facility (APSF) aims to ensure that vulnerable rural households benefit from agricultural and rural development and economic growth. The focus of the research is vulnerable households that pursue agricultural livelihoods. The sources of vulnerability such households face includes physical, related to health and nutritional status, and economic, related to the sustainability and efficacy of the rural livelihood strategies pursued by household members. The characteristics of these households, as well as the shocks they face and the resources they can draw upon, will differ across Nigeria. IFPRI’s Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division supported the APSF’s objectives by commissioning a review of knowledge on poverty and rural development in Nigeria. The report aimed not only to help identify the knowledge base, but also the gaps in information needed to support evidence-based policymaking.

 

1.1       STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The poverty experienced by Nigerians is pervasive, multifaceted, and chronic, affecting the lives

of a large proportion of the populace. The Nigerian situation presents a paradox because the country is rich but the people are poor. This has been captioned, ‘poverty in the midst of plenty’ by the World Bank (World Bank 2006).

The feminization of poverty and the specific impact of poverty on women is the result of inequalities embedded in norms, traditions and practices that hinder women’s access to critical resources such as land and credit. These curtail their inheritance rights and constrain their political participation. The causes and outcomes of poverty are highly differentiated between women and men, particularly because of persistent unequal access to, and control over, productive resources and decision-making processes. Yet, traditional conceptualizations of poverty consistently neglect to take this into account, resulting in policies and programmes, which fail to improve the lives of poor women and men and their families. A focus on gender equality is essential for adequate analysis of the causes and impacts of poverty and the identification of effective strategies to eradicate poverty. Central to such a focus is attention to gender perspectives, including the equitable participation of women (Aina, 2008).


International institutions such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank have promoted land registration and titling for the poor, partly in order to provide them with the collateral to qualify for credit, which can then be invested in income-producing activities. However, most such initiatives have not adequately considered the customary restrictions on women’s ownership and control of land, and may have inadvertently perpetuated gender inequality and aggravated women poverty. (Esfahani, 2006.)

“Affirmative efforts” are required, both in the enforcement of new legislation and to address gender-specific disadvantages in effective and concrete ways. Formal reforms are not sufficient to lessen poverty among African women. It is important to note that such efforts would not only improve the situation of poor women, but also have a positive impact on the effectiveness of national policies. For example, attention to gender differences in property rights can improve the outcomes of natural resource management policies. In order for environmental protection to be effective, it is important to identify the nature of the rights to land, trees, and water held by women and men, and how these rights are acquired and transmitted between users (Meinzen-Dick, et al, 2000. See also Lastaria-Cornhiel, 2005).

Viewing from what has been written above, the state and value put upon the feminine gender, in the past and present is enumerated. However, this research work tends to evaluate gender and perception of poverty in Surulere local government especially as a function of women participation and involvement and fill the lacuna. Though there are lots of research works on gender as a whole, but a little or no adequate attention is given to the area of poverty from gender perspective using Surulere local government as a case study. Thus, this research work is unique

1.2       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions will be asked and answers provided will be thoroughly analyse and subject to discussion:

1.      What do people perceive as poverty?

2.      What factors influence poverty among gender?

3.      What are the coping strategies of gender poverty?

4.      What are the effects of gender inequality in the household welfare?

 

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

Specifically, the study seeks among issues:

1.      To understand the gender-based differences in the perception of poverty.

2.      To explore the effects of poverty coping strategies with/without taking into account the gender-based differences in perceptions of poverty.

3.      To Assess the impact of intra household inequalities on household welfare

4.      To examine factors influencing poverty among gender.


1.4       SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The purpose of every research work is to add to already existing knowledge and it is evident that a lot of research has been carried out on gender and poverty but nonetheless, this research work will systematically look into gender and its link with poverty perception in Surulere local government by contributing useful findings to the holistic problems of women and their counterparts in the society.

According to previous research carried out on gender and poverty perception, it has been asserted that females suffer more in almost all societies of the world especially Sub-Sahara Africa which is as a result of the fact that societies are Patrilocal and Patrilineal in Nature.

This exercise or study aims at contributing to the body of knowledge that exists in the area of gender and poverty by assessing the attribution of poverty from gender perspective. The findings of the study will provide information to policy makers to what the lay person consider as poverty and gender, and that will help to develop the appropriate policy to solve the issue of poverty and gender challenges.

The findings are also expected to serve as a reference material for future researchers. The findings will also contribute to theories of poverty and gender.


1.5       SCOPE AND DELMITATION OF STUDY

This research work aims to examining the relationship between gender and perception of poverty in Surulere local government of Lagos State, since it is impossible to cover all gender plights in Nigeria due to constraints of physical energy, cost, time and analysis of data.

The scope of this study will be limited to Surulere Local Government. A case study of Surulere local government of Lagos State only. The study will specifically focus on men and women poverty. Hence, results may suffer from external validity. There is the tendency that some respondents will respond in a socially desirable way will tend to bias result against findings.


1.6       DEFINITION OF TERMS

GENDER: Is the social construction of the expectation, priviledges, behavior and constraints related or associated with those called or identified as male or female. John Money (1955), gave the modern academic sense of gender in the context of social roles of men and women and this was popularized and developed by the feminist movement from the 1970s onwards.

POVERTY: Is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. According to CBN (2001), the causes of poverty can be grouped broadly into two: low economic growth and market imperfections.

ABSOLUTE POVERTY OR DESTITUTION: Refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education.
RELATIVE POVERTY:Is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live.

PERCEPTION: (From the Latin Perceptio, Percipio) is the organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs.

 

 

 

 

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