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Sil Baştan: Pandemi Sürecinde Kadınların Derinleşen Yoksulluk Deneyimleri

ÖZ

Bu çalışmada özellikle pandemi sürecinde daha da derinleşen yoksulluğun,  özellikle yoksulluk sınırı altında yaşayan kadınları nasıl etkilediğine odaklanılmıştır. Geçimini ev işçiliği ile sağlayan kadınların yoksulluk deneyimleri konu edilmektedir. Bu kapsamda yüz yüze derinlemesine görüşme gerçekleştirilen 14 kadın ev işçisinin pandemi öncesi ve pandeminin ilk bir yıllık sürecindeki yoğun kapanma dönemlerindeki yoksulluk deneyimleri, hane içi sağlıklı ve yeterli gıdaya erişim, sağlık hizmetlerine ve eğitim hakkına erişim, işsizlik deneyimleri gibi konular üzerinde durulmuştur. Görüşme bulgularına göre, pandemi öncesi dönemle karşılaştırıldığında, pandemi dönemindeki hane içi barınma ihtiyacını karşılama, fatura ödeme, gıdaya erişim, sağlık ve eğitime erişim gibi konularda “insani olmayan” koşullarda yaşamak zorunda kalmaya başladıkları; yakın çevrelerinin de benzer durumları yaşaması sebebiyle ekonomik destek bulmakta güçlük çektikleri görülmektedir. Pandemi öncesi döneme göre menstrüel ürünlere erişimde daha çok zorluk yaşayan kadınların, hane içi ihtiyaçların karşılanması için yardımlara başvurma, askıda ekmek ya da sıcak yemek sıralarında bekleme konularında da hanedeki erkeklerden daha görünür oldukları dikkat çekmektedir. Ayrıca pandemi öncesi dönemde yoksulluk sınırı altında yaşamalarına rağmen ‘dini referanslara dayanan’ bakış açısıyla kendilerini yoksul olarak tanımlamadıkları halde özellikle kapanma dönemlerinde ve işsiz kaldıkları dönemlerde kendilerini yoksul olarak gördükleri, yoksullukla mücadele için hane birleştirme, yemek bölüşme, kaçak elektrik kullanma gibi geçinme stratejileri geliştirdikleri ve yoksullukları derinleştikçe yoksulluğun kuşaklararası aktarımına ve geleceklerine dair kaygılarının ve ümitsizliklerinin arttığı görülmektedir.
Anahtar Kelimeler : Yoksulluk, kadın yoksulluğu, yoksulluk deneyimi, ev işçiliği.
Back to Beginning: Women's Experiences of Deepening Poverty During the Pandemic

ABSTRACT

This study focuses on how poverty, which has deepened especially during the pandemic, affects women living below the poverty line and focuses on the poverty experiences of women who make their living as domestic workers. In this context, face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with 14 female domestic workers, focusing on issues such as poverty experiences before the pandemic and during the intense lockdown periods in the first year of the pandemic, access to healthy and sufficient food in the household, access to health services and the right to education, and unemployment experiences. According to the interview findings, compared to the pre-pandemic period, it is observed that women in the pandemic period started to have to live in “inhumane” conditions in terms of meeting household housing needs, paying bills, access to food, access to health and education; they had difficulty in finding economic support due to the similar situations of their close circles. It is noteworthy that women, who have more difficulties in accessing menstrual products compared to the pre-pandemic period, are also more visible than men in the household in terms of applying for aid to meet household needs, waiting in lines for bread or hot food. It is also observed that although they did not define themselves as poor with a ‘thankful’ perspective despite living below the poverty line in the pre-pandemic period, they saw themselves as poor, especially during periods of closure and unemployment, and developed living strategies against poverty such as household unification, food sharing, illegal electricity use, and as their poverty deepened, their anxiety and hopelessness about the intergenerational transmission of poverty and their future increased.

Extended Summary

Poverty is a factor that permeates every aspect of social life, explained in terms of the presence or absence of economic resources that determine how people live their lives, but it is also a factor that affects the entire life of the individual and constitutes a source for all issues such as lifestyle, health, education, nutrition, and even future imagination/hope. Poverty is not only income deprivation, as Amartya Sen defined, it is capacity deprivation. This capacity deprivation implies that receiving better basic health and education services not only improves the quality of life, but also increases the individual’s capacity to earn income and thus liberates him/her from income poverty. Poverty assessments that are reduced to income alone are incomplete. Using the Multidimensional Poverty Index to build a more comprehensive picture reveals who is poor, how they are poor and the different disadvantages they experience (such as fresh water, adequate nutrition or primary level education). The poverty of disadvantaged groups (women, children, elderly, disabled, migrants…) is more likely and more intractable. Discrimination at the root of disadvantage is a significant barrier to access to education, to healthy living conditions and even to getting a decent job. The inability to receive a proper education or to acquire a profession often obliges individuals to live on low incomes. One of the disadvantaged groups is women. Women’s poverty is a result of unequal gender roles. Restrictions on access to education, gender roles, home care services, precarious entry into the labor force, and exposure to wage inequality in the labor market make women poorer than men. It is seen that the needs of women are largely ignored in pandemic measures regarding to areas of social protection and employment. The World Bank notes that pandemic-related job losses and deprivation have hit harshly already poor and vulnerable people, and have also created millions of new poor, partly changing the global poverty profile.

This study focuses on the poverty experiences of domestic workers living below the poverty line in the Sultançiftliği neighborhood of Sultangazi district of Istanbul, who earn their living by cleaning houses. In this context, face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with 14 female domestic workers, focusing on their experiences of poverty before the pandemic and during the intense lockdown periods in the first year of the pandemic, access to healthy and sufficient food in the household, access to health services and the right to education, and experiences of unemployment. According to the interview findings, compared to the pre-pandemic period, it is seen that households were forced to live in “inhumane” conditions during the pandemic period. Especially in the questions asked about their experiences of poverty before and after the pandemic, they expressed that they felt more helpless than they had ever felt before the pandemic period. It is seen that they underlined that they suffered from poverty incomparable to the pre-pandemic period, especially in terms of access to healthy food, rent payment, heating and bill payments, and that their inability to work during the lockdown periods was effective. It is observed that they had difficulty in finding economic support due to the fact that their close relatives also experienced similar situations. It is observed that it is women, rather than men, who apply for aid to meet the needs of the household, and who wait in the lines for bread on hangers or hot meals. In this process, women, who also faced serious problems in accessing menstrual products, returned to old methods to combat menstrual poverty and started using washable diapers. This means that they are exposed to unhygienic measures. It is noteworthy that when they started working during the pandemic, they commuted to work in crowded public transportation vehicles, risking getting sick.

They also stated that although they did not define themselves as poor with a ‘thankful’ perspective despite living below the poverty line in the pre-pandemic period, they saw themselves as poor, especially during periods of closure and unemployment. When both the interviewee women and other members of the household became unemployed during the lockdown periods, women, whose debt acquisition channels were exhausted, developed various resistance strategies in their own close circles. These strategies include household unification (moving to an extended family house), cooking in one household for meals (stove unification), cooking in quick succession on the stove set up in the garden by finding brushwood from outside, joint use and repayment of loans or debt, if any.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns and interruptions in school attendance deepened inequality in access to education and exacerbated increasing learning poverty and inequalities in education. Due to power outages, limited access to the internet and lack of electronic goods, the children of the interviewees could continue their education in a problematic manner. This raises concerns about the intergenerational transmission of poverty. In addition, it is seen that the interviewees have no hope for the future due to reasons such as suicides during the pandemic process and unbearable living conditions, they want to change their lives but cannot find the power and resources to change their lives, and they continue their lives by turning over the days, they have increased anxiety and hopelessness about their future.

Keywords : Poverty, women’s poverty, poverty experience, domestic labor.

Kaynak Göster

APA
TAŞKIRAN, G., & . ( 2023). Sil Baştan: Pandemi Sürecinde Kadınların Derinleşen Yoksulluk Deneyimleri. Çalışma ve Toplum, 2(77), 1025-1062. https://doi.org/10.54752/ct.1280828