The Italian Case
This chapter examines women's poverty in Italy. It first describes some of the structural conditions that contribute to the main risks of poverty for women, such as their exclusion from the labor market and the absence of policies to support the cost of children; costs in terms of both time and economic resources. It then reviews the conditions of different types of poor families and the social policies that contribute to, or alleviate, poverty. It first considers lone-mother families and married couples with minor children where women play a fundamental role in managing budgets that are not sufficient to meet the needs of the family. It then examines the condition of older women, showing how, within a framework of a general capacity of the Italian welfare system to protect older people, they are at risk of poverty due to their past weakness in the labor market and to longevity that is often accompanied by a loss of self-sufficiency. The chapter also examines immigrant women, distinguishing between lone mothers living with their children in Italy and “long distance” lone mothers, who provide for the subsistence of their children and other members of their family through remittances.
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