This thesis explores the conception of the feminization of poverty, the notion that women experience a higher incidence of poverty than men, that women are prone to suffer more persistent/long-term poverty than men, that women's disproportionate burden of poverty is rising relative to men, that women face more barriers to lifting themselves out of poverty, that the â feminization of poverty' is linked with the â feminization of household headship,' and that women-headed households are the poorest of the poor. Seeing that poverty has been defined as capability deprivation that prevents individuals from leading the kind of life they have reason to value, it will be argued that women are indeed poorer in many societies in many dimensions of capabilities. Women are poorer in the sense of human poverty, as their poverty includes areas such as exclusion from decision-making, unequal opportunities in schooling, and restrictions in employment, among others, all restrictions on choices and opportunities that are not dependent on income levels. Women are not only deprived of capabilities but they also face great challenges in their attempts to transform their capabilities into well-being. In the case of Egypt, the state plays an active role in aggravating women's vulnerability through a social security system that is built with patriarchal assumptions of women's roles and needs in mind. It is this increased vulnerability of women to chronic poverty that has been dubbed the â feminization of poverty.'


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

First Advisor

Korhonen, Outi

Committee Member 1

Lorite, Alejandro

Committee Member 2

Sayed, Hani

Committee Member 3

Fahmy, Nabil

Document Type



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