Poverty threatens every fifth person

The most problematic groups are young people, single-parent families, families with many children, disabled people and the Roma.

Poverty threatens also Roma people.Poverty threatens also Roma people. (Source: Sme)

Nearly every fifth person in Slovakia lives in conditions close to the poverty or social exclusion level. The most endangered groups are young people, single-parent families, families with three or more children, disabled people and the Roma, according to a new report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

Poverty is still a pressing topic and it poses serious problems in some countries.

“Altogether 122 million people threatened with poverty and social exclusion live in the European Union today,” Zuzana Maďarová of EIGE told the press conference held on November 29 in Bratislava, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

In Slovakia, about 18 percent of its inhabitants are in danger, which represents every fifth person. While compared with 2010 the number of endangered people in the EU increased, in Slovakia it decreased. Currently there are about 200,000 children younger than 16 brought up in families that are threatened by poverty or social exclusion.

Poverty is not only about an economic lack, Maďarová said.

“It is a broader problem which affects and limits the possibilities of people to participate in political and social events and society,” she added, as quoted by TASR. “If we want to fight poverty it is necessary to perceive it in a broader context.”

One of the factors increasing the risk of poverty and social exclusion is gender equality, which is seen especially when families depend on the man’s income.

“It is most visible in the case of unexpected life events like the break-up of the family, the loss of employment, illness or death of a spouse,” Maďarová said, as quoted by TASR.

The EIGE report suggests that without the man’s income as many as 81 percent of couples with children found themselves below the poverty level. If a woman were to lose her job, the influence would be lower (only 40 percent). This proves the connection between poverty and gender equality, according to the experts.

The employment of women is still lower than that of men, while women receive lower salaries. Moreover, older women are more likely to be endangered by poverty. Also women with children struggle to find job, according to the EIGE report.

“Only half of women with three or more children in Slovakia have a paid job,” Maďarová said, as quoted by TASR, adding with that the more children the women have the less economically independent they are.

The report also suggests that poverty endangers single-parent families, disabled people, migrants, and also ethnic groups as nine out of 10 Roma men and women live on the edge of poverty. Moreover, poverty threatens mostly young people who have left their parents and then people older than 75 years of age, TASR wrote.

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