Women and poverty

Poverty can increase violence. Particular groups of women, including women and girls living in poverty, face multiple forms of discrimination, and face increased risks of violence as a result. Studies show that poor girls are 2.5 times more likely to marry in childhood than those living in the wealthiest quintile.

Women and girls living in poverty are more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, including trafficking. And those who experience domestic or intimate partner violence have fewer options to leave violent relationships, due to their lack of income and resources.

To address such issues, UN Women runs programmes to empower women economically and lift them out of poverty, as well as strengthen social services for survivors and increase awareness of their rights.

Changing the landscape with all-women worksites in India

Women mark the area to be dug by workers and oversee the work’s completion in Village Satavasa, Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh. Photo: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh Chandok

UN Women interventions have reached more than 100,000 poor and marginalized women in 29 districts in India. As the result of one project, supported by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, more than 30,000 marginalized rural women now manage worksites and are able to ensure wages are paid and demand their rights under pension, social protection and livelihood programmes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act.

In Tajikistan, self-help groups teach rural women business skills and independence

Anjira Ashurova stands in the yard outside of her home. Photo credit: Association of Women and Society

A UN Women-supported project is training the families of migrant labourers and rural women’s groups to start their own businesses, helping them access micro-credits, and fostering their economic empowerment. Some of these women are survivors of violence. So far, more than 5,000 families in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have received training, resources and loans to become self-reliant entrepreneurs.

What the Beijing Declaration says about Women and poverty
Read our Beijing+20 In Focus package on Women and poverty

Go back to UN Women's In Focus compilation on Ending Violence against Women 2014