The Vicious Circle of Poverty
- A Gender-Aware Approach

Here you will have the opportunitiy to read my examination paper in the advanced course of Human Geography. I have done this paper together with another female student at the University of Örebro, Sweden, miss Monica Carlberg. Both of us are majoring in Human Geography in the study programme of Social Science. This examination paper is the result of a 2-month field study in a developing country, India. Our project-work in India was financed by a scholarship from Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, through their Minor Field Study (MFS) Programme granted to us through the Department of Social Science at the University of Örebro. This MFS was conducted in the capital of Tamil Nadu, Madras, during the spring of 1995.

This report from Madras is devided into four parts, Framework, Literature Study, Empirical Study and Analysis. In the first part you can read about the Background, the Theory, the Objective and the Method, that we used in our Minor Field Study. In the second part, you will have the opportunity to read about the Economy in the Developing Countries, Overview on the Status of Women in India and about the process of Urbanisation in the Developing Countries. It is in the part called Empirical Study, that we write about the Women in the Slums of Madras.The fourth and last part of our report concludes everything we have written earlier and tell you the answers of the questions asked in the Objective. In the end, there is also a short chapter called Recommendations. If you are interested to know about the References we have used in this report you will find them in the very end of the last page, together with some Abbreviations.


To get you, to understand what our Field Study was about, I will let a poor woman from Madras, that we interviewed, tell you more about her every-day life. By reading this I hope you will get curious to learn more about poor women in India and the struggles of their life. The story of this woman sumarise the contence, of the following next four pages.

"I am a woman living and working in the slums of Madras. To make my living I sell bananas at the local market. I sell bananas because no one will employ me as I am illiterate and from a low caste family. Some days I get a good selling spot and can sell all my fruit, but other days evil men take my selling spot and makes me sit somewhere else. I can do nothing about that, I am just a poor old woman, nobody cares what I say. To finance my business I have to borrow money from a money lender. I am always in debt because I have to pay back much more than I borrow. With the money I get from my business I have to provide for me and my husband, my son’s wife and their children with the income I make. This is not enough, sometimes my grandchildren have to go to bed without any food. My son only works a few days a week and the money he earns he spends on drinks. He doesn’t treat his wife very good, he beats her when he is drunk. My husband is old and his health is weak, he can not do any kind of work. The house we live in have no electricity, no toilet facilities and no drinking water. I send my daughter-in-law to fetch water and she also helps me to cook for our family. The slum area we live in is not so good. There are no real roads and there is garbage everywhere because there is no where to put your wastage’s except on the street."
Fatima, 61 years old

In our examination paper, "The Vicious Circle of Poverty - A gender-aware approach", we have used Internet to some extent and when there are more information to get, the address to that site on The Net will be given. If you have any comments or questions, please use my E-mail address (see left).

Or othervise, use these addresses for snail-mail:

Get the essay here Get the essay here (926 kb). After you have loaded down the file (Madras.exe) you have to double-click on it. Then you will be able to read the word 2.0 file named Madras.doc.


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