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The Australian poverty measure changing our understanding of global deprivation
Dr Meredith Doig OAM FAICD
April 4, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm$80 – $95.00
The way we currently measure poverty doesn’t give us a complete picture. In particular, it leaves women out.
Right now, the world measures the poverty of households. But who lives inside these households, and how do their circumstances differ from each other? How do the experiences of women differ from those of men? With current measures of poverty, we simply don’t know.
Why does this matter? Without comprehensive data, it is difficult to see what we need to fix, and to track progress against the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals which set the agenda for people and planet to 2030. We need to know who is poor, in what ways and to what extent, in order to effectively allocate resources. Poverty is highly gendered, but without data about individuals it is impossible to capture this accurately and build the case to adequately resource change for women.
Since 2009, International Women’s Development Agency has been working with the Australian National University and a range of other partners to develop a new way of measuring poverty that gives visibility to the unique experiences of women and other groups, such as people living with a disability and, in the future, LGBTIQ communities. This new measure – called the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) – enables analysis of poverty by gender, age, disability, rural/urban location and their intersections – a significant step forward in global poverty measurement.
The IDM opens the door to the household, and looks at the circumstances of the individual people inside. It gets beyond money, looking at a whole range of factors that keep people poor. The 15 dimensions of life measured by the IDM include access to food, quality of housing, access to health care and education, and dimensions that are particularly important to a gender sensitive understanding of poverty – such as voice in the community, experience of violence and time spent in paid and unpaid work.
Bettina Baldeschi is CEO of International Women’s Development Agency, which has played a key role in developing the IDM to date. Prior to her time at IWDA, Bettina held a number of executive roles with Oxfam Great Britain, and has worked with UNHCR in Canberra. Bettina has a strong track record in advancing and protecting the rights and opportunities of women and girls, and is a leader in the Australian international NGO sector.
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