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Keywords:

  • gender;
  • governance;
  • poverty;
  • social institutions;
  • young women;
  • girls

SUMMARY

Recently, there has been growing attention to the need to include girls (and boys) more prominently in poverty reduction and development agendas. How to do this effectively, however, remains an under-researched subject, especially in debates around chronic poverty, that is, the experience of severe, multidimensional poverty for an extended period of time. Although the Chronic Poverty Research Centre has spotlighted the often overlooked social and nonincome dimensions of poverty traps, including social discrimination and limited citizenship, in general scholarship has paid relatively limited attention to the interplay between gender, poverty reduction and governance institutions. To address this lacuna, this article draws on recent research by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre and the Overseas Development Institute that highlights the key role context-specific social institutions play in informing and determining the life opportunities and agency of girls and young women. To more effectively address the governance challenges involved in tackling such deprivations, the article discusses three key measures that can support the eradication of gendered experiences of poverty: the importance of involving local community leaders, working with men and boys to raise awareness about girls' and women's rights, and promoting collective action and voice among girls and young women. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.