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Literature review: The efficacy of women’s social movements to include chronically poor women and give voice to their demands

Rachel Amosu


Social movements are known to struggle to include, or be representative of, chronically poor women (Cleaver, 2005; Mumtaz, 2005; Schady, 2001; Thorp et al., 2005). The objective of this review and annotated bibliography is to examine social movements within and across various strata of society (i.e. not only the chronically poor; and case studies that include men and women), in order to identify the key features that may facilitate or limit the ability of social movement organisations (SMOs) to be inclusive of the chronically poor and give voice to their demands.

In the literature review, the key findings are presented as a set of six strategies for social movement organisations. Over the course of five chapters, evidence is presented which supports and contests these strategies. Ultimately, the review reveals that social movement organisations are said to be more able to engage in collective action that is inclusive of chronically poor women when they:

  • promote inclusive organisational structures, including new, accountable leadership opportunities;
  • promote a unified group identity; and
  • effectively address the constraints on chronically poor women’s participation through the delivery of key resources, such as basic needs that address asset and time poverty.

SMOs will best be able to promote and represent the voice of chronically poor women when they:

  • prioritise awareness raising and information dissemination on rights and entitlements to their membership and to wider society;
  • manage equitable relations with external agents, including donor bodies; and
  •  engage with the state in meaningful and innovative ways.

The literature review is followed by a selected annotated bibliography of the supporting readings, which draw upon social movement, feminist, collective action and gendered chronic poverty literature.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper


gender social movements

ISBN: 978-1-906433-73-4


1 Literature review PDF 592.9 KB

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