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Gender and Multidimensional Poverty in Nicaragua: An Individual-based Approach

Espinoza-Delgado, Jose and Klasen, Stephan (2018): Gender and Multidimensional Poverty in Nicaragua: An Individual-based Approach.

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Most existing multidimensional poverty measures use the household as the unit of analysis so that the multidimensional poverty condition of the household is equated with the multidimensional poverty condition of all its members. For this reason, household-based poverty measures ignore the intra-household inequalities and are gender-insensitive. Gender equality, however, is at the center of the sustainable development, as it has been emphasized by the Goal 5 of the SDGs: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (UN, 2015, p. 14); therefore, individual-based measures are needed in order to track the progress in achieving this goal. Consequently, in this paper, we contribute to the literature on multidimensional poverty and gender inequality by proposing an individual-based multidimensional poverty measure for Nicaragua and estimate the gender differentials in the incidence, intensity, and inequality of multidimensional poverty. Overall, we find that in Nicaragua, the gender gaps in multidimensional poverty are lower than 5%, and poverty does not seem to be feminized. However, the inequality among the multi-dimensionally poor is clearly feminized, especially among adults, and women are living in very intense poverty when compared with men. We also find that adding a dimension (employment, domestic work, and social protection) under which women face higher deprivation leads to larger estimates of the incidence, intensity, and inequality of women’s poverty. In this new context, gender gaps become much more substantial, and poverty and inequality are unambiguously feminized. Finally, we find evidence that challenges the notion that female-headed households are worse off than those led by males in terms of poverty.

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