The research of Associate Professor Sharon Bessell from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy focuses on addressing inequality and poverty. Together with Associate Professor Janet Hunt, Dr Bessell is developing a new measure of multi-dimensional poverty that is sensitive to gender.
This ground-breaking research is being carried out in partnership with the International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with the aim of having the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) ready for global use by 2020.
At the forefront of research globally on gender-sensitive, multi-dimensional poverty, the IDM Program recently received $9.5 million funding from the Australian Government. The IDM builds on a four-year multi-disciplinary research project, funded by the Australian Research Council, which included participatory research with thousands of people across six countries: Angola, Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique and Nepal. The IDM was then developed based on the experiences and priorities of women and men living in poverty – this is a unique feature of the measure.
Associate Professor Sharon Bessell explains that the IDM is the first genuinely gender sensitive poverty measure. “The IDM is able to help reveal the nature and extent of poverty experienced by women and men - and this matters for developing the policies and services necessary to fulfil the global promise to leave no-one behind.”
Gender equality is critical to realising the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Individual Deprivation Measure will identify the most vulnerable groups in society, providing essential data for governments and organisations in their efforts to address inequality and poverty more effectively.
In a separate project, funded by the Australian Research Council, Dr Bessell in undertaking research with children in Indonesia as the basis for developing new approaches to addressing childhood poverty.