Cover Image
close this bookBreaking the Barriers - Women and the Elimination of World Poverty (DFID, 1999, 24 p.)
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close this folderWomen's inequality and world poverty
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View the documentOur Policy
View the documentPartnerships
close this folderPoverty and sustainable livelihoods
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View the documentWomen and Agriculture
View the documentManaging Forests
View the documentUrban Poverty
View the documentCredit and Financial Services
close this folderMore power for women
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View the documentGovernment
View the documentCivil Society
View the documentViolence and Conflict
close this folderEducation and health
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close this folderEDUCATION
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View the documentSchooling
View the documentLiteracy and Non-Formal Education
close this folderHEALTH
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View the documentChildren by Choice
View the documentMaternal Mortality
View the documentSexual Health...
View the document...Including for Young People
View the documentInvolving Women
View the documentFemale Genital Mutilation
close this folderWomen-friendly infrastructure
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View the documentTravel and Transport
View the documentWater and Sanitation
View the documentImproving Basic Services
View the documentEasing Women's Workload
close this folderWorking with international partners
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View the documentIn the EU
View the documentAt the UN
View the documentWorld Bank
View the documentOECD
View the documentThe Commonwealth
View the documentBuilding capacity and measuring progress
View the documentThe future


Women make up more of the world's poor than men. Often, their work is unrecognised and unpaid. They rarely have control over assets, such as land. This means they cannot become economically independent, and makes them particularly vulnerable in widowhood and old age.

Women need more resources and opportunities for sustainable economic and human development. We want to help improve their access to markets and jobs, make credit more readily available, and ensure that infrastructure improvements benefit women as well as men. We encourage our partners in developing countries to make sure that economic management and investment programmes take account of gender issues and urge the private sector to be more socially responsible.

We are supporting research into the effects on women of globalisation and the liberalisation of world trade. This should give us a better understanding of how women can benefit from these global developments. We are also developing a programme to support initiatives on ethical trade, socially responsible business and the promotion of core labour standards to protect women and other workers from exploitation. Child labour and the sexual exploitation of children are also growing areas of concern.

These studies are called Participatory Poverty Assessments (PPA). UK expertise helped develop PPAs in conjunction with the World Bank. They are an invaluable tool for highlighting the economic and social problems which women, as well as men, face.

Finding the causes of poverty

A poor woman in a Nairobi slum was asked what event she would change in her life if she could: she replied: "I would be born a man".

We work directly with poor people to discover the underlying causes of poverty and its consequences in people's daily lives. This enables us to develop practical ways to help and to become more responsive to poor people's needs.