Social Policy and Society


Gender, Poverty and Social Exclusion 1

Jane Millar a1
a1 Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy, University of Bath E-mail:


This article discusses some of the problems involved in trying to develop gender-sensitive ways of measuring poverty. It argues that what is needed is a way of placing individuals within households and measuring both their contribution to the resources of that household and the extent of their dependence on the resources of others within the household. It is argued that this should involve examining sources as well as levels of income, and by adopting an approach that is dynamic, rather than static. The concept of social exclusion – multi-dimensional, dynamic, local and relational – could provide a way to explore these issues of autonomy and dependency, and their gender dimensions.


1 This article is closely based on a paper first given at the conference, ‘Beyond the feminisation of poverty’ (University of Padua, November 1999) and published in Italian as J. Millar (2000) Genere, povert e esclusione sociale, in F. Bimbi, E. Ruspini (eds.), Povert delle donne e trasformazione dei rapporti di genere, Inchiesta, 128, aprile—giugno 2000, pp. 9–13.