Not all women have the same experiences, perceptions and priorities and it must therefore be made clear which women are being talked about. Women may comprise at least half the global population but beyond a certain point, there is little purpose in generalizing about women as a sex. Such generalizations run the risk of becoming tautological and can suggest a commonality that belies the important ways in which gender interacts with such other factors as class, race, politics and religion to create the different experiences of women in various parts of the world. To become more specific, explorations of the way in which gender affects peoples' lives are valuable because they can shed light on the manner in which women and men might be able to improve the quality of their lives. The case studies discussed in this publication are all based on the experiences of Black Jamaican women who live in households classified by local policy- makers as low-income, and who accept, and hold, as female heads of households, sole responsibility for their households.