Alternative Indices for Measuring Poverty: The Gender Dimensions

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 3:55 PM

Erlinda Castro Palaganas, PhD, RN
College of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines Baguio, Baguio City, Philippines
Fatima Castillo, MA
Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines

Learning Objective 1: ...explain the gender dimensions of what constitutes poverty.

Learning Objective 2: ...describe methodological issues/challenges of conducting research with a feminist orientation in terms of issues of trustworthiness, reflexivity, and ethics.


The study aims to determine what constitutes poverty in the first phase of a multiyear, multi-country, inter-disciplinary research project that seeks to develop a new measure of deprivation that is genuinely gender-sensitive and responsive to the expressed interests and views of rural poor women and men.


The basic principle of grounded theory guided the conduct of activities in the preparatory, data collection, analysis and report writing; and validation phases and finalization of the report. The data collection methods include: KIIs, FGDs, Poverty Ladder Ranking, Brainstorming and Household Mapping. Six groups of participants were selected according to sex, age, ethnicity, religion, civil status, land ownership and representation of different sitios. 


The context of the people lives impacts people's views of and experiences of poverty. Through extensive collaboration and partnership with the people, the study revealed that DEPRIVATION of the most basic things for survival is what constitutes poverty: food, shelter and income. The absence of a regular income and indetebteness makes them incapable of buying food and constructing a decent shelter. Poverty is also affected by Gender, Age, Ethnic-Bias, etc. There are 3 levels of poverty: the very poor, not –so- poor, and upper level poor. The study also found out that it is not money that would change poverty. Rather, the change depends on different needs, different skills, and different materials in order for the community to survive.


It is difficult to measure poverty and the dimensions of poverty or what causes or affects it, thus should be viewed according to those who experience it. Likewise difficult to make abstract concepts real, meeting expectations of the people, and dealing with a sense of frustration of the researchers.Key concepts of trustworthiness, reflexivity, and ethics are key considerations in the conduct such study.