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Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative finds gender disparities in access to education within poor households

In a recent report on multidimensional poverty, Oxford University highlighted findings revealing that many women in impoverished households are excluded from education.

Completed by the United Nations Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), the study found that one in six of the world’s poor live in households where no woman or girl has completed six years of education but at least one man or boy has.

The gender disparity is highest in Arab states, the report found, constituting 70% of poor households who have at least one educated man or boy but no woman or girl. Furthermore, figures showed that disparities were also high in South Asia and Sub-Saharan African, constituting 65.9% and 65.2% of poor households, respectively.

Director of OPHI, Dr. Sabina Alkire, stated in the article that in order to achieve an equitable future “where all people enjoy core capabilities they value and have reason to value,” the global community must address structural inequalities.

Moreover, the article notes that gender inequality was found to persist past access to education and extend into women and girls being at higher risk for violence. Additionally, as a study specifically about multidimensional poverty, the report found that 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor, and “ethnic groups” experience higher levels of poverty compared to non-ethnic groups.

OPHI defines multidimensional poverty as “the various deprivations experienced by poor people in their daily lives–such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, disempowerment, poor quality of work, the threat of violence, and living in areas that are environmentally hazardous among others.”

As an economic and research policy center a part of the Oxford Department of International Development, OPHI’s strategy towards poverty reduction relies heavily on data collection and a “methodological framework.”

Specifically, the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) used by the United Nations was devised by Dr. Sabina Alkire alongside Professor James Foster to measure poverty based on compounding factors i.e. education, health, and work life.

Figures from the report were collected through data across 109 countries and 5.9 billion people.

OPHI runs a series of events as well as a seminar series, summer school, and research workshops.

Their last event, titled “Envisioning a More Equitable Future: Using Multidimensional Poverty Indices as a Policy Tool,” was on October 4th and 5th over Zoom. The meeting focused on social development in Chile and featured an address from President Piñera regarding the importance of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network in combating poverty using MPI research.

The full press release as well as more information about multidimensional poverty can be accessed at ophi.org.uk.

Image credits: CC BY-SA 3.0

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