Goal 1: No Poverty

SDG 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.

Goal 1: No Poverty

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Menstrual poverty has become a global issue, affecting women who do not have access to the menstrual products they need. Most of the related literature is based on low- and middle-income countries’ facts and experiences. Using the 2020 Youth Survey in Barcelona, this cross-sectional study provides novel data on the prevalence and the factors associated with menstrual poverty in an urban context (Barcelona) in a high-income country (Spain) with a randomly selected representative sample of 700 young women aged 15 to 34. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were used in the analysis. Results show that 15.3 per cent of young women in Barcelona reported facing financial barriers to accessing menstrual products. Further, those young women with a high level of material deprivation (OR=4.42; CI=2.14–9.16) have a greater probability of suffering from menstrual poverty, whereas those living independently from their parents (OR=0.50; CI=0.28–0.90) and women with a non-EU origin (Latin-Americans: OR=0.54; CI=0.31–0.93; Others: OR=0.06; CI=0.01–0.46) have a lower probability of reporting menstrual poverty. Our findings advocate that the measurement of poverty should consider individual aspects and needs, and not only the household income level as the reference. Further, we would encourage rethinking poverty measurement with a gender perspective, as well as identifying how deprivations overlap to aggravate the experience of poverty.

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Critics of Universal Basic Income (UBI) have claimed that it would be either unaffordable or inadequate. This discussion paper tests this claim by examining the distributional impacts of three UBI schemes broadly designed to provide pathways to attainment of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). We use microsimulation of data from the Family Resources Survey to outline the static distributional impacts and costs of the schemes. Our key finding is that even the fiscally neutral starter scheme would reduce child poverty to the lowest level achieved since 1961 and achieve more than the anti-poverty interventions of the New Labour Governments from 2000. The more generous schemes would make further inroads into the UK’s high levels of poverty and inequality, but at greater cost. We conclude by assessing fiscal strategies to reduce the up-front deficit of higher schemes, providing a more positive assessment of affordability and impact than critics have assumed.

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Chapter 7 draws attention to the modest pursuits and pleasures that sustain a liveable life in hardship but don’t necessarily conform to popular ideas of ‘good resilience’. It argues that research on lived experiences of welfare tends to be reactive in orientation, so that welfare users are more often positioned as adept responders than pursuers in accounts of getting by. The chapter builds on the work of Les Back and Eve Tuck to foreground examples of hope amid the strain of life on welfare without falling into overly rosy accounts of resilience or reinforcing the expectation that people face difficult situations with plucky resolve. While the understated examples of everyday care and accomplishment the chapter foregrounds may seem inconsequential, they are perhaps all the more relevant given the limited resources at the disposal of people struggling to get by.

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The Conclusion reiterates the value of bringing together Anglo-settler, Indigenous and minority ethnic stories of life on welfare and the strengths and limits of ethnography in this endeavour. It foregrounds participants’ insights about the need for more understanding in Australia’s welfare system, particularly in the form of centring welfare users’ knowledge of the system. However, it also draws together lessons from the preceding chapters on practitioner ambivalence about welfare users’ knowledge and the limits of a system based on repeated disclosure, even when geared towards support. Finally, it returns to Ghassan Hage’s concept of the social gift to argue for a magnamanous rather than maligning spirit of welfare provision. In the face of mounting evidence that mean welfare exacerbates and entrenches the poverty and vulnerability it claims to tackle, the book ends by advocating a welfare system that creates possibilities rather than problems for the people who rely on it.

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Chapter 2 provides the big picture backdrop for the rest of the book by placing Australia’s welfare system in international and historical context. It gives an overview of the resurgence and rise of more meagre and punitive welfare in Australia and the targeting of sanctions and supports at the most vulnerable welfare users with ‘complex needs’. While moral distinctions between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor have returned to prominence over the last three decades, they are deeply rooted in the foundations of the Australian welfare state. The chapter briefly outlines the history of exclusions and ‘conditional inclusion’ embedded in welfare provision, and how the settler-colonial welfare state dealt with Indigenous and non-white immigrant difference. The chapter concludes by situating Australian developments in relation to similar shifts in the UK, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Canada.

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The Introduction situates the book’s aim of foregrounding culturally diverse accounts of welfare in relation to living social policy and moving social policy. It sets up the approach of the book as informed by ethnrographic attention to depth and complexity and the author’s first-hand perspective of an improverished life on welfare. This approach is attuned to the messiness and vivacity of lived lives and the uneven places and provisions of welfare within a fragmented welfare landscape. The introduction traces the movement of welfare policy and politics across the life of the research from PhD project to book. It shows how dominant policy ideas of vulnerability and resonsbility have remained current even as the meanings of those ideas have shifted across time and place.

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