Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What about UBI for women in South East Asia?

UBI might be one way to both empower women and reduce hunger in South East Asia, argues Tamara Nair, Nanyang Technological University.

"My research focuses specifically on women from the region who live below the poverty line, which, for East Asia and the Pacific, the World Bank defines as living on less than US$3.20 a day," she writes at the Huffington Post.

"Women are primarily seen as wives and mothers, a gender stereotype reinforced in both everyday experiences and in the theological texts of the main religions in the region.

"By giving women the financial freedom to act as “agents” of development in the region, universal basic income could be a tool that ultimately paves the way for their future economic and political involvement.

"This process would start with something simple (and seemingly uncontroversial): women being able to put food on the table," Nair proposes.

"If women were provided with sufficient income to feed their families, it would translate into better nutrition, health and general well-being for children and others entrusted in their care, and by extension, their communities.

"Tacked onto the state’s existing social safety nets, UBI can give much needed specific attention to women’s broader economic empowerment, which is vital to a developing country’s growth.

"The first step toward doing so in Southeast Asia would be to identify women living below the poverty line.

"Accessible through cheap mobile phones, this money can be used to purchase food and other basic necessities in participating shops, which may be incentivised to participate with credits or subsidies of their own," she says.

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