Home > mcgill, mcgill philosophy workshop, poverty > Kathryn MacKay – An Analysis of Poverty in Women’s Lives in India

Kathryn MacKay – An Analysis of Poverty in Women’s Lives in India

January 19, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

You are cordially invited to attend the first McGill Philosophy
Workshop of this semester, presented by Kate MacKay next Monday,
January 26 at 12:00 PM in Leacock 927.

The abstract is below. Lunch will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kathryn MacKay
Chapter Two: An Analysis of Poverty in Women’s Lives in India

The ‘feminization of poverty’ is a trend that has been identified
by the United Nations Development Programme, and describes an
increasing number of women than men living in poverty, and a higher
incidence of female-headed households living under the poverty line in
a given country than male-headed households. The evidence for the
actual existence of this trend is disputed by economists and political
philosophers. I will argue that theorists are able to discount the
tendency toward the feminization of poverty by using a definition of
poverty which only considers the income of the persons under
examination. When one considers poverty as defined by the UNHDR,
wherein poverty consists of a set of conditions in which
“opportunities and choices most basic to human development are
denied — to lead a long, healthy, creative life and to enjoy a
decent standard of living, freedom, dignity, self-respect and the
respect of others” (UNHDR 1997) — we can see that the
feminization of poverty is a distinct and troubling trend. Closely
associated with the feminization of poverty is an issue which Martha
Nussbaum and Amartya Sen call capabilities failure. A basic level of
capability in certain core areas of functioning is necessary for human
flourishing, and is a necessary condition of justice in a political
arrangement. Capabilities failure occurs when people systematically
fall below this basic level in any of the core areas, and Sen and
Nussbaum argue that such a situation is both unjust and tragic. The
feminization of poverty leads women to suffer from capabilities
failure at an increasing rate, and I will argue that these connected trends are present in the lives of women who decide to act as paid
surrogates, and that the trends are instrumental factors which push
women towards surrogacy.

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