Women and poverty dynamics: the case of Germany and Britain

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 1998


Using household panel data, this article analy ses women's poverty in (West) Germany and Britain comparatively, dynamically and with a gender-friendly perspective. It explores pov erty dynamics, in terms of characteristics and duration of poverty spells; it underlines the in teraction between critical events and changes in resource distribution (family, labour market and welfare) in determining the gender charac teristics of poverty trajectories; and it verifies the different combination of entry and exit events. The results show that women's greater vulnerability to economic poverty lies in two different elements: on the one hand, women's poverty spells are longer, and on the other hand they are particularly exposed to econ omic fluctuations. Moreover, the different demographic structures, labour market characteristics and welfare systems mean that there are substantial differences in the events causing the beginning or the end of poverty trajectories for women and men. From a com parison of the various regressions, it is clear that German women are more vulnerable to marital disruptions, while British female pov erty spells are more strongly related to unemployment and women's burden of care and domestic work, which have a profound effect on their ability to take up paid employ ment outside the home. The facilitation of women's integration/reintegration into the labour market (especially after family critical events such as divorce/separation) is an im portant event influencing the probability of leaving poverty in both settings.

Published in

Journal of European Social Policy


Volume: 8 (4):291-316





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