Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Tatsushi Arai


This qualitative- based research paper explores eight women’s perceptions of gender that are living below the poverty line in Nellore, India. The women were interviewed once for a minimum of a half an hour to a maximum of an hour and a half within a time span of one week. The purpose of the research and interviews was for the researcher to gain insight into gender discrimination and its relationship to the feminization of poverty in the villages the women were from. All of the women were either H.I.V positive or taking care of a child that was HIV positive, or both. Their ages ranged from 22 years old to 56 years old, seven of the interviewees were married, and were married between the ages of 13 and 20. The 7 married women completed education levels between 3rd grade and 10th grade. The non -married woman was the only woman who completed 12th grade. The married women had between one and four children

The women spoke of suffering in their marriage due to having an arranged marriage, husbands who went outside the marriage for sex and contracted and spread HIV to them, not being able to control finances or earn much money in jobs outside the home. Most of the women had good experience with doctors and hospitals, and seemed to think healthcare was accessible although stigma and some health care costs were a concern.

The author uses Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom Theory, and Thomas F. Homer-Dixon’s Environmental Scarcity Theory to analyze the women’s poverty and development needs. The author uses Johan Galtung’s triangle diagram of Structural, Cultural and Direct Violence to explain the systems in the women’s lives that are collaborating and reinforcing gender discrimination and keeping the women in poverty. The author ends with recommendations based on the women’s voices as a foundation for the recommendations.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment | Women's Studies


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