To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Marital Status and Poverty with Gender Bias

Advances in Women’s Empowerment: Critical Insight from Asia, Africa and Latin America

ISBN: 978-1-83982-473-9, eISBN: 978-1-83982-472-2

ISSN: 1529-2126

Publication date: 21 September 2020


This chapter analyses the relationship between individuals’ poverty situation and conjugal status (divorced, separated, in a free union, or legally married) from 1996 to 2014. It describes different marriage property regimes that exist in state laws in Mexico. Couples living in free union are found to be poorer than those legally married, indicating that marriage may help to protect families more than cohabitation laws. When comparing divorced men and women, women show higher signs of being poorer than men; this could be because the law establishes that the assets in case of divorce accrue to whoever works and pays for them, and given that many women work in the unpaid sectors, men are the owners of the assets. Having no consideration of these facts in the law may create poverty with gender bias in the case of divorce. Additionally, there is lack of data in administrative records of marriage and divorce about couples’ assets, children, and employment status before and after the marriage, so we discuss the importance that in a near future this could be register to facilitate law and policy-makers identifying what contributes to create poverty with gender bias as a results of family laws, and correct them.




We thank Valeria Serrano and Isela Amarillas who were research assistants. NOPOOR project for funding this research as part of the FP7 Framework of EU, and Eva Medina and Ramon Mahia for their comments and observations. Any mistake is the responsibility of the authors only.


Ortega-Díaz, A. (2020), "Marital Status and Poverty with Gender Bias", Ochman, M. and Ortega-Díaz, A. (Ed.) Advances in Women’s Empowerment: Critical Insight from Asia, Africa and Latin America (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 29), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 127-146.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited