Brussels, 19 February 2016/ ACP: A new book launched at the ACP House, titled “Poverty is a person: Human Agency, Women and Caribbean Households” by Dr. Theresa-Ann Rajack-Talley, calls for a more gendered and multidimensional approach to studying poverty, going beyond the traditional focus on statistics and figures.

Presented during last week’s ACP symposium on empowering youth and women entrepreneurs through South-South & Triangular Cooperation, the book attempts to address the question of why poverty still exists, using a ‘people-centred’ lens.

“We look at economic development and we look at social development but we do not make the link, and even if we make the link, we do not go a step further in implementing models that link both,” said the author, Dr. Rajack-Talley, an Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky.

She said that the dominant methods used in poverty studies focus too much on ‘assessing’ poverty rather than seeking to understand the human aspect of the experience. The people-centred approach forces a questioning of statistical data on poverty and how that data is used to craft responses and solutions to meeting the needs of the most marginalised persons in Caribbean societies. The book provides a synopsis of poverty from a “people perspective” and is supported by case studies of households and communities, highlighting what it is that women do on a daily basis to survive and provide for their families.

“We need to redefine what we call ‘business’ and what is ‘norm’,” stated Dr. Rajack-Talley, arguing that women are often penalised for making the link between the social and the economic, as the activities they engage in are less commodity-focused and therefore deemed less ‘business-oriented’ – despite the fact that they feed families, communities and countries.

ACP Secretary General H.E Dr. Patrick Gomes welcomed the publication, and encouraged more women-focused research in examining how to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development in ACP countries.

Theresa Ann Rajack-Talley is the Associate Dean for International Diversity and Engagement Programmes in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Louisville, Kentucky with more than 25 years of research experience on social inequality, race, gender and poor households in the Caribbean, USA, West and East Africa. She has written widely on understanding poverty and poverty alleviation, and is currently writing an article on agricultural and trade policy in ACP countries.

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(Photo top: Author Dr. Theresa-Ann Rajack-Talley and ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes)

– Press ACP