As a consequence of an ongoing debate on feminization of poverty in recent years there has been an increase in the number of studies on female poverty in Mexico. In Latin America this phenomenon is related to the appearance of the so-called new poor as a result of the economic crisis in the 1980s. The article discusses the concept of 'la jefatura femenina', i.e. the situation when a woman takes over the role of a head of a household which is considered typical for the communities of poor women in Mexico. The authoress presents the results of research on women leading households in poor Mestiro communities in big cities in Mexico. She explains the historical sources of feminine poverty, its cultural context with particular attention to gender determined social conditions. Research on 'jefatura feminina' indicates that when a woman becomes the head of a household its quality of life deteriorates. On the other hand it brings changes to traditional patterns of power in families, leads to decrease in strength of violence in families and to more equitable distribution of goods etc. Taking up a job and being the head of the household inevitably changes the lifestyle and gender roles ascribed to poor Mexican women by their culture.The authoress points to the problems coming into sight when researching the poverty of Mexican women. It is well-hidden in the family and household. It is additionally disguised by the stereotypical gender roles present in the Mexican culture. Thus, perhaps female poverty is not depicted in the Mexican studies concerning impoverishment.
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