Around 87 million women and girls are living in extreme poverty as of 2020 in India, a new data released by UN women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) revealed. Furthermore, this number is expected to increase to around 100 million by 2021, owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Women report- “From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of COVID-19” included this data. The report covers 129 countries and shows that the pandemic will push 96 million people into extreme poverty by 2021. Out of the whole number, 47 million are women and girls.

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The earlier poverty rate of 13.3% will increase to 14.7%

According to the data on India, the poverty rate for females before the pandemic was 13.3% vs 12.1% for males. But by 2021, the percentage will shift to a 14.7% of women and girls living in extreme poverty in comparison to 13.7% men, the Times of India reported.

Extreme poverty is defined as “living on less than $1.90 a day” according to the report. This is expected to increase manifold due to the ongoing pandemic. The estimates of poverty by sex and age are based on the data sample of 129 countries where extreme poverty is most applicable. This includes the areas accounting for 89% of the global population.

According to reports, the regional coverage majorly includes central and south Asian countries and sub-Saharan Africa as well. Though some countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are also included, the main focus remains on the aforementioned geographical areas.

Poverty rate of women to increase by 2%: UN report

As far as India is concerned, the poverty rate for women lying in the age group 25 to 34 is estimated to be around 12% in 2020. This percentage is equivalent to around 13.4 million women of the age group 25 to 34 who are living in extreme poor conditions. But as per the UN report, by 2021 the poverty rate of the women aged 25-34 is expected to increase by 2%, which will bring the percentage to 14%. This would be equivalent to a total count of 15.2 million women.

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Looking closely, these numbers translate to the fact that the ratio of men to women living in extreme poverty is bound to increase. It means that for every 100 poor men, there would be 120 extreme poor women in 2021. This ratio would worsen to 129 poor women per 100 poor men in 2030, reported the Times of India. Furthermore, it is stated that at the current pace, another 37 years would pass before India closes on the gender poverty gap among individuals of ages 25 to 34.


Shikha Chandra is an intern with SheThePeople.TV





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