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Noresma Jahya

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 7369
Fax: (+61 8) 6488 1167


Start date

Nov 2008

Submission date

Nov 2015

Noresma Jahya

Noresma Jahya profile photo


A Study of the Meaning of Poverty Among the Urban Poor in Malaysia: Exploratory Research on the Gender Dimensions of Poverty.


This study aims to explore the gender dimensions of the meaning of poverty among the urban poor in Malaysia and this includes exploring the gendered perceptions and experiences among them. The socio-economic context of the urban poor in Malaysia is also being analyzed in order to gain better knowledge of Malaysia’s economic development trajectory and history of development policy, and general knowledge of the condition of urban society and its makeup (e.g. gender, age and class composition, workforce characteristics, educational levels, and ethnic issues). This study attempts to provide some recommendations of how should gender dimensions of poverty be incorporated into poverty eradication programmes in Malaysia. This is a fully qualitative research that employs multiple data collection methods: in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations. It employs mainly in-depth interviews on women, men, and female head of households living in the urban areas in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Why my research is important

The study fulfils the requirement of originality and substantial contribution to knowledge in a number of ways.

• It breaks the tradition of neglect of gender relations in research into poverty in Malaysia. No study has yet been done that has focused specifically or deeply into gender relations among poor people in Malaysia.

• It will provide some empirical evidence in the Malaysian context of how poverty should be addressed in terms of gender perspectives.

• It will provide the first research on the gendered experience of poverty in Malaysia.

Gender is a very important dimension of poverty, which has been looked at, but not comprehensively in the Malaysian context. Poverty alleviation programmes in Malaysia do not explicitly address the gender dimensions in their formulation. Presenting the voices of the urban poor to the policy makers will at least bring some awareness and provide some assistance to them when revising and formulating better programmes for the urban poor in the future. Thus, exploring the gender dimensions of poverty is an attempt to fill in our knowledge about urban poverty and what it means to be poor so that flawless poverty reduction strategies may lead to successful poverty reduction in Malaysia.


  • Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia