The Beijing Platform for Action states that “More than 1 billion people in the world today, the great majority of whom are women, live in unacceptable conditions of poverty…” (para 47. p. 18, BPFA)
Across Australia women are deprived of a lifestyle or aspects of a lifestyle that is regarded as fair and reasonable within the society in which they live. There is poverty of low wage earners and utter destitution of those who fall outside family support systems, social institutions and safety nets. The gap between rich and poor is widening.
Environmental degradation and lack of local services has continued to impact severely on women especially those in rural and regional areas. Lack of response to issues of poverty has impacted especially hard on indigenous women. Funding cut-backs in some government programs has resulted in an increase in the poverty traps for the unemployed, low income earners and women workers.
The Asia Pacific region has continued to see an increase in the number of women living in poverty. This has largely been caused by the impact of international influences including globalisation and the policies and practices of bodies such as the World Trade Organisation, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and multi-national corporations. For many women, these policies and practices have resulted in unemployment, deterioration in wages and working conditions, the shift of labour from the formal to the informal sector and from regulated to unprotected, sub contracted labour.
The rise of the new poor and an increase in homeless people in industrialized countries has been identified as an emerging issue.
Increased militarization linked to anti-terrorist programs has led to increased defence budgets and decreased resources for poverty alleviation, as well as to the disruption of community self-help programs allegedly linked to “terrorists”