Exclusion based on social status or identity

Social exclusion is often the effect of a process of discrimination or ‘othering’ on the basis of cultural, social and/ or racial identity. Such discrimination can generate powerful exclusionary processes. It can be systematic and intentional – resulting from policies which are embedded in the formal institutions of the state, as in the case of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Discriminatory processes and practices can also be deeply embedded in the operation of labour markets. For example, Popay et al. (2008, see below) highlight the example of the majority indigenous Tuareg in North Niger.  The Tuareg represent only one per cent of upper management personnel and 15 per cent of workers and employees in the uranium mining industry, which has polluted their traditional lands and compromised their livelihoods. Discriminatory processes may also be reinforced by religion, tradition and cultural practices – as exemplified by India’s caste system – and embedded in dominant social attitudes, behaviours and prejudicial practices. The causes and experiences of different forms of exclusion also combine into complex intersections, as people’s positions are shaped by their standing in relation to the multiple dimensions discussed in this guide. People can this be at a disadvantage in one regard (e.g. women with regard to gender) but privileged in another (e.g. upper caste).

Kabeer, N. (2002). Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Acknowledged Community: Identity, Affiliation and Exclusion (Working Paper No. 171). IDS.
The history of citizenship has been an unhappy one. The denial of resources and the rights of some groups by others is typical, and no historically significant form of citizenship has been incompatible with this type of exclusion. This paper looks at two different forms of citizenship: the ‘imagined community’ of the nation-state with its rights and duties, and other communities within the nation-state with their own claims and obligations. It considers how these forms of citizenship shape the patterns of access to and exclusion from resources.
Access full text: available online

Das, N. K. (2009). Identity Politics and Social Exclusion in India’s North-East: The Case for Redistributive Justice. Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology, 6(1).
This paper analyses how identity politics have served to marginalise and exclude different groups in North-East India. These exclusions often assume a binary form, with oppositions including majority-minority, ‘sons of the soil’-immigrants, locals-outsiders, tribal-non-tribal, hills-plains, inter-tribal and intra-tribal. Local people’s anxiety for autonomy and the preservation of their language and culture should be viewed as a prerequisite for distributive justice, rather than dysfunctional to a healthy civil society.
Access full text: available online

Haider, H. (2009). Identity Politics in Nepal (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report). Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.
The Panchayat regime (1960-1990) in Nepal imposed the values and norms of the dominant group – its language, religion and culture on society as a whole. The languages, cultures and religions of other groups were starkly marginalised. In addition, indigenous nationalities (adibasi janajati), dalits and madhesis (people of Indian ethnicity living in the Tarai plains), who comprise over two-thirds of the population, have been excluded politically, economically and socially. Women also suffer from exclusion and marginalisation; even those of ‘high caste’. In 1990, the 30 year-old Panchayat regime was overthrown, a new Constitution written and a multiparty system re-established. These reforms did not properly address the exclusion of marginalised groups and ethnic centralisation continued. But they did provide the space for such grievances to be mobilised and heard – resulting in the emergence of ‘identity politics’.
Access full text: available online

Caste

Caste has been a structuring inequality in south Asia and beyond. While its manifestations and effects appear similar to class, its workings and implications for social exclusion need to be analysed distinctly. In particular, adverse inclusion in caste systems is a major problem. Both references below suggest that approaches to tackling social exclusion caused by caste would have to be specific to caste, sustained and
multi-pronged.

Judge, P. S. (Ed.). (2014). Mapping Social Exclusion in India. Cambridge University Press.
What does a mapping of the patterns and modes of social exclusion in India reveal? How do multiple exclusions affect people’s trajectories at macro and micro levels? Which strategies of social inclusion and integration have help erode caste-based discrimination? This 15-chapter book draws on quantitative and qualitative data from sociology, political science, and history. Its detailed analyses show how class, caste, gender, religion, language, geographic location, ethnicity, and disability, have combined to structure society. Social exclusion interacts with systems of inequality, poverty and globalisation. Authors also assess responses from the State, at federal, state and local levels (e.g. reservation policy), and from society (e.g. marginalised groups’ autonomous organisation, protests, mass social movement, activism).
Access full text: available online

India Exclusion Report. 2013-14. (2014). New Delhi: Books for Change.
How well does the Indian State fulfil its responsibilities towards excluded groups, at local, district, state and federal level? This report offers comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analyses of social exclusion in India. First, it studies exclusion from four public goods: school education; urban housing; labour markets, particularly decent work; and law and justice, focusing on the impact of anti-terror legislation. It identifies the excluded groups, and the negative effects of exclusion for them and society at large. Mechanisms of exclusion include faulty law and policy, institutional bias in implementation, active violence and discrimination by the state, and problems with budgets. Second, the report analyses public budgets, planning, and statistics and reveals discriminations against women, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and persons with disabilities. Third, the report identifies that highly excluded groups, such as transgender persons, bonded labourers, and Musahars (a scheduled caste in Northern India), suffer from intersecting disadvantages. They face multiple denials of public goods, discrimination, insecurity, indignity and violence.
Access full text: available online

Each chapter lays out proposals to reverse and prevent such entrenched exclusion. Many laws and policies need to be changed or better implemented. More measures must prevent discrimination, injustice and violence, such as training of public officials, public campaigns, unionisation, and prosecutions. More and better data is needed on inclusion. Special redress is required for highly excluded groups, such as: follow-through on legal recognition for transgender persons; higher public investments in agriculture and rural employment against bonded labour; supporting Musahars’ self-organisation.

Gender and sexualities

Discrimination against women is widespread and systemic, and they are subject to exclusion in various spheres. Women continue to face barriers to their political participation, and are vastly under-represented in local and national governing bodies worldwide. There are also gender differences in terms of inclusion in the labour market. Most women work in the informal economy, which is characterised by job insecurity, poor working conditions and low pay. The persistence and reproduction of women’s exclusion is also supported by social norms and religious values.  In many communities, traditional barriers still prevent women from going out of their homes to work. For some women, having primary or sole responsibility for household duties, including childcare, also prevents them from working outside their homes or areas of residence.

Social exclusion has some powerful advantages for gender analysis: it is dynamic and process-oriented, it enables a focus on the excluded and included as well as the excluders and includers, and it allows for the kind of multilayered analysis that is needed for a better understanding of gender and other complex social relations.

The literature on gender is extensive and cannot be covered in any great depth in this guide. The resources included here aim to highlight some important aspects of the links between gender and social exclusion.

For syntheses of recent evidence on gender and its practical implications for social exclusion and aid, see the following GSDRC topic guides:

Kangas, A., Haider, H., & Fraser, E. (2014). Gender: Topic Guide (Revised edition with E. Browne). Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 

Chrichton, J., Haider, H., Chowns, E., & Browne, E. (2015). Human rights: Topic guide. Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the section on women’s human rights

Crichton, J., Scott, Z,. & Haider, H. (2012). Topic Guide on Justice. Birmingham: GSDRC, , University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the section on human rights, gender and social exclusion

For a synthesis of recent evidence on sexual minorities’ rights and the practical implications for social exclusion and aid, see the following GSDRC topic guide:

Chrichton, J., Haider, H., Chowns, E., & Browne, E. (2015). Human rights: Topic guide. Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the section on sexual minorities’ rights

Costa, J., Silva, E., & Vaz, F. (2009). The Role of Gender Inequalities in Explaining Income Growth, Poverty and Inequality: Evidences from Latin American Countries (Working Paper No. 52). International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, UNDP.
What role can gender play in understanding income growth, poverty and inequality? This working paper argues that gender equality is critical in any attempt to reduce poverty. In particular, it finds that increasing women’s access to the labour market correlates very positively with greater economic equality overall. The analysis draws on micro-simulations performed for eight Latin American countries, covering four areas of gender inequality: labour market participation, occupational status, wage discrimination and characteristic endowments.
Access full text: available online

Morrisson, C., & Jütting, J. P. (2005). Women’s Discrimination in Developing Countries: A New Data Set for Better Policies. World Development, 33(7), 1065–1081.
How do gender inequalities in developing countries affect women’s economic activity? This paper introduces innovative indicators to measure constraints imposed on women by social institutions: laws, norms, traditions and codes of conduct. These are the most important factors in determining women’s participation in economic activities outside the household. Measures to improve women’s access to education and health will have limited impact while social institutions continue to discriminate against women.
Access full text: available online

Plantenga, D. (2004). Gender, Identity, and Diversity: Learning From Insights Gained in Transformative Gender Training. Gender & Development, 12(1), 40–46.
Why prioritise gender inequality over other forms of oppression, such as those based on class, ethnicity and religion? This article draws on insights from gender training sessions to examine gender, identity and power in development organisations. It recognises that identities are always multiple and interconnected, so gender cannot be viewed in isolation. Power dynamics between different identities give privileges to some and make others vulnerable. Gender training should acknowledge these differences and find strategies to promote equality.
Access full text: available online

Cornwall, A., & Jolly, S. (206). Introduction: Sexuality Matters. IDS Bulletin, 37(5), 1-11.
What is the connection between sexuality and development? This introductory article  addresses the role of sexuality in development. The mainstream literature has largely ignored this subject, either reducing it to a health and reproduction issue, or dismissing it as a ‘luxury’. In fact, sexuality is a matter of major concern to people worldwide, and development policies are already making an impact on sexuality, intended or not. Sexuality is an issue that cuts across various domains and is linked to human wellbeing. Silences, taboos and societal expectations around sex often reinforce or build up negative gender stereotypes and affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Access full text: available online

Franzoni, J. M., & Voorend, K. (2012). Who Cares in Nicaragua? A Care Regime in an Exclusionary Social Policy Context. In Razavi, S. Seen, Heard and Counted: Rethinking Care in a Development Context (pp. 121–148). John Wiley & Sons.
This mixed-method book chapter compares the gendered care regimes created by Sandinista legacies (1979-1990) and by neoliberal public policies (1990-2006), to explain why women have been carrying most of the burden of care. Nicaraguans have long approved of community interventions in care, particularly among the poor, and in the face of frequent epidemics and disasters. Sandinistas strongly supported community involvement. The neoliberal downsizing of government since the 1990s, combined with Catholic leaders’ views on family, has promoted an exclusionary targeting of basic social services. Project-based welfare has created discontinuity and a lack of coordination. To compensate, local care has grown, but it depends heavily on unpaid, predominantly female work: families (especially mothers), community organisations (often heavily female), social service workers who have suffered greater job instability. The authors recommend formalising care through decent paid work, and tackling the familialisation of care and, as a related but distinct problem, its femininisation.
Access full text: available online

Khan, S. (2009). Gender and Elections in Afghanistan (GSDRC Helpdesk Report). Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.
Press coverage around the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan emphasised the low turnout of women voters, highlighting the shortage of female staff at polling stations, proxy voting by male family members, and the threat of retributive violence against women voters and candidates as key factors. However, the academic literature is largely silent on these issues, both in the Afghanistan context and more generally. According to one author, relatively little is known about the actual dynamics of women’s access to the polls and their opportunities to stand as candidates. Most studies of women’s political participation focus on the problem of low levels of female representation in government. This stream of research considers the structural and cultural conditions that make it difficult for women to be nominated as candidates and to win political office, as well as the behaviour of female parliamentarians once in government.
Access full text: available online

Razavi, S., & Jenichen, A. (2010). The Unhappy Marriage of Religion and Politics: Problems and Pitfalls for Gender Equality. Third World Quarterly, 31(6), 833–850.
Has the growing presence of religion in politics made it harder for women to pursue gender equity? This article explores how religion as a political force shapes the struggle for gender equality in developing and developed countries. It is based on studies in Chile, India, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and the United States. The political influence of religious actors and movements worldwide has increased post-Cold War. The ‘private sphere’ has become politicised and is often the focus for conflict between religious actors and human rights advocates.
Access full text: available online

OECD. (2010). Atlas of Gender and Development: How Social Norms Affect Gender Equality in non-OECD Countries. Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development.
Access full text: available online

Race

Few studies provide careful examination of the role played by race in social exclusion, poverty, and inequality. This is partly because the subject remains taboo in many countries and as a result, the data that could support such analyses are often lacking. However, some studies, on exclusion in Latin America for example, have shown that certain racial groups experience considerable disadvantages in terms of access to schooling, formal sector jobs and remuneration. Their lower labour market earnings result in disproportionately high poverty levels.

Wade. P. (2005). Rethinking Mestizaje: Ideology and Lived Experience. Journal of Latin American Studies, 37, 239-257.
How do people live the process of racial-cultural mixture? By adopting an approach that focuses on the everyday, this paper emphasises the ways in which mestizaje (mixture) as a lived process involves the maintenance of enduring spaces for racial-cultural difference alongside spaces of sameness and homogeneity. In so doing, it highlights the way in which notions of inclusion and exclusion in processes of mixture are intertwined and challenges essentialist notions of identity.
Access full text: available online

White, S. (2002). Thinking Race, Thinking Development. Third World Quarterly, 23(3), 407–419.
The discussion of race in development is traditionally taboo: development is determinedly colour-blind. This article challenges the dominant stance on development. It argues that the silence on race masks and marks its centrality to the development project. The politics of race in development deserves consideration. Race is a socio-historical construct, which operates both as an aspect of identity and as an organising principle of social structure. Development is increasingly identified as a project of Western capitalism. It cannot be separated from the wider context of Western-inspired global capitalism and the geopolitical interests of dominant states.
Access full text: available online

Hooker, J. (2005). Indigenous Inclusion/Black Exclusion: Race, Ethnicity and Multicultural Citizenship in Latin America. Journal of Latin American Studies, 37(02), 285–310.
Why is the landscape of citizenship so uneven across Latin America? Latin America exhibits high degrees of racial inequality and discrimination against Afro-Latinos and indigenous populations, despite constitutional and statutory measures prohibiting racial discrimination. The multicultural reforms of the 1980s and 1990s, which brought many collective rights to indigenous groups have not, however, had the same impact on Afro-Latinos. This article examines the region’s multicultural citizenship regimes, and finds an emphasis on cultural difference or ethnic identity over race which disadvantages Afro-Latinos.
Access full text: available online

Indigeneity, ethnicity and culture

As with race, the literature on ethnicity and exclusion notes that ethnic differences can result in reduced access to and accumulation of assets and goods, and that exclusion can affect the return on those assets in the labour market. This can have important implications for poverty and wellbeing. Ethnic (as well as racial) exclusion can result from discriminatory institutional rules, as well as social attitudes and practices. This discrimination is particularly problematic when it occurs in public sector organisations, which are responsible for public service provisioning. Creating genuine structures of social inclusion in such contexts is particularly challenging.

For a synthesis of recent evidence on minorities’ and indigenous peoples’ rights and the practical implications for social exclusion and aid, see the following GSDRC topic guide:

Chrichton, J., Haider, H., Chowns, E., & Browne, E. (2015). Human rights: Topic guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the section on minorities’ and indigenous peoples’ rights: 

Mustafa, A. R. (2006). Ethnic Structure, Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector in Nigeria (Programme Paper No. 24),  UNRISD, November.
How has ethnic mobilisation and confrontation manifested itself in multi-ethnic Nigeria? What efforts have been made to address it? This paper explores Nigeria’s contradictory processes of ethno-regional fragmentation and a centralising nation-building agenda. Ethnic mobilisation remains resilient in the face of repeated efforts at political engineering and nation-building.
Access full text: available online

Cultural status inequalities arise when certain groups’ cultural norms, practices and symbols are given differential treatment or recognition. In the following paper, the three main aspects of cultural inequality are defined as: i) recognition of religious practices and observances; ii) language rights and language recognition; and iii) recognition of ethnocultural practices. Cultural status inequalities are particularly prone to group mobilisation and violence because of their inherent link with group identity.

Langer, A., & Brown, G. (2007). Cultural Status Inequalities: An Important Dimension of Group Mobilization (CRISE Working Paper no. 41). Oxford: Centre for Research on Inequality Human Security and Ethnicity.
What is the relationship between cultural status and group mobilisation? This paper analyses this relationship within the broader framework of horizontal inequalities – that is, inequalities between culturally defined groups. Group grievances and violent conflict can emerge out of the inferior treatment or status afforded to different groups’ cultural practices by the state. The most dangerous situations exist where all three dimensions of horizontal inequality – socioeconomic, political and cultural – run in the same direction.
Access full text: available online

Laaksonen, A. (2005, January). Measuring Cultural Exclusion through Participation in Cultural Life. Paper presented at Third Global Forum on Human Development: Defining and Measuring Cultural Exclusion, Paris.
What indicators should be used to measure individuals’ access to cultural rights? How can a strengthening of cultural life contribute to social inclusion and participation? This paper looks at three geographically diverse consultations on cultural inclusion to identify the key cultural rights priorities for communities worldwide. It argues that an enabling cultural environment promotes individuals’ access to their rights and a sense of social responsibility.
Access full text: available online

However, development practitioners must be careful about how they judge other cultures. On an organisational and individual level, they need to examine their own cultural assumptions and power dynamics. Their role must be to make space for discussion of cultures by ‘insiders’, and to ensure the participation of excluded groups – enabling them to identify and take action against practices they find oppressive.
Access full text: available online

Jolly, S. (2002). Gender and Cultural Change: Overview Report. Brighton: BRIDGE, Institute of Development Studies.
Is Gender and Development (GAD) an imposition of western ideas on other cultures? This accusation can obstruct efforts to tackle gender inequality. Yet ideas in development are disproportionately influenced by richer countries. This paper addresses this problem by examining culture and the origin of cultural norms. Awareness of power dynamics and willingness to tackle gender stereotypes can be effective in challenging cultural norms.
Access full text: available online

On social exclusion and inclusion of indigenous populations, see also:

Religion

Religion-related exclusion can come in two forms. The first is the denial of the right to practise one’s religion freely or at least equally. The second is the exclusion of people from the wider legal, economic and political rights available more generally on the grounds of their religion or religious identity. An additional important dimension is the exclusion by a religious group of its own members from certain religious practices. In India, the practice of untouchability which excludes dalits from Hindu temples is highlighted by the paper below as an example of this.

Bhargava, R. (2004). Inclusion and Exclusion in South Asia: The Role of Religion. United Nations Development Programme.
What forms of exclusion related to religion occur in South Asia and how can these be addressed? This paper examines the role of religion in inclusion and exclusion in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. A South Asian society with a secular state such as India is most likely to be inclusive or to have potential for inclusion. Conversely, a society without a secular state such as Pakistan or Bangladesh has much greater potential for exclusion.
Access full text: available online

Children and youth

Although most people make a ‘normal’ transition from youth to adulthood, in many countries young people are increasingly unable to achieve the social and economic levels associated with adulthood. This trend has been termed ‘the blocked transition to adulthood’, and is also known as the ‘waithood’ in the Middle East and ‘youthmen’ in Rwanda. Youth exclusion is particularly widespread in countries with rigid and conservative power structures, which exclude them and other marginalised groups in society. For example, young people in the Middle East often see their governments as unelected, unaccountable, corrupt and providing no legitimate outlet for youth discontent. Therefore, it is the intersection of youth with other dimensions of disadvantage that makes social exclusion a useful framework for analysis.

For a synthesis of recent evidence on children’ and youth’s rights and their practical implications for social exclusion and aid, see the following GSDRC topic guide:

Chrichton, J., Haider, H., Chowns, E., & Browne, E. (2015). Human rights: Topic guide. Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the sections on children’s and adolescents’ human rights:

Kabbani, N., & Kamel, N. (2007). Youth Exclusion in Syria: Social, Economic and Institutional Dimensions. Washington DC / Dubai: Middle East Youth Initiative.
What factors contribute to the economic exclusion of young Syrians, and how do these factors interact? This paper examines economic, social and institutional dimensions of youth exclusion in Syria. Findings suggest that a combination of factors contributes to economic exclusion, with multiple risk factors having a cumulative impact towards youth exclusion.
Access full text: available online

UNICEF. (2006). Excluded and Invisible: The State of the World’s Children 2006. New York: United Nations Children’s Fund.
How can children be included in the millennium agenda? Meeting the MDGs and the broader aims of the Millennium Declaration would transform the lives of millions of children: saving them from illness, premature death, extreme poverty and malnutrition and helping them gain access to safe water and decent sanitation facilities, and primary schooling. However, with the MDGs focused on national averages, children in marginalized communities risk missing out on essential services such as health care, education and protection. This paper discusses the root causes of the exclusion and invisibility of some children, and how the MDGs can be met so that they are included and protected.
Access full text: available online

Thorat, S., & Sadana, N. (2009). Discrimination and Children’s Nutritional Status in India. IDS Bulletin, 40 (4), 25-29.
What is the connection between caste and health status in India? This paper argues that discrimination and exclusion associated with ‘untouchability’ may play a role in the poor health of lower caste individuals. Particularly in the nutrition domain, lower caste children have significantly lower indicators of health and wellbeing. Proactively inclusive measures are needed to reverse current trends, beginning with antipoverty and education programmes. Equally necessary is a major campaign to raise awareness among rural people, including the scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST), encouraging them to access healthcare services.
Access full text: available online

Old age

As with youth, the intersection of old age with other categories such as gender, ethnicity, and disability, can result in discrimination against, and the marginalisation of, older people. They can face multi-dimensional disadvantages including lack of assets, isolation and physical infirmity. These are closely related to the processes and institutional arrangements that exclude them from full participation in the economic, social and political life of their communities. These include the discriminatory laws and practices of governments and the negative attitudes and discriminatory practices of family members, healthcare providers and employers.  Age-based prejudice isolates older people from consultation and decision-making processes at family, community and national levels, and can lead to the denial of services and support on the grounds of age.

For a synthesis of recent evidence on the rights of the elderly and the practical implications for social exclusion and aid, see the following GSDRC topic guide:
Chrichton, J., Haider, H., Chowns, E., & Browne, E. (2015). Human rights: Topic guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the section on the human rights of the elderly.

Beales, S. (2000). The Mark of a Noble Society: Human Rights and Older People. London: HelpAge International.
Older women and men are now the world’s fastest-growing population group, and among the poorest. What barriers do older people face in having their predicaments acknowledged and their contributions supported? How can their rights be promoted and protected? There is a compelling economic as well as moral logic for including older people in global strategies to combat poverty to further human rights. This paper explores the relationship between poverty and human rights, and the barriers older people face.
Access full text: available online

Disability

Disabled people often have limited access to education, employment, and public services. Some of the barriers to their inclusion are physical, such as inaccessible buildings and transport; institutional, such as discriminatory legislation; and attitudinal, for example stigma. Disability has been something of a zone of invisibility, and people with disabilities are not included in any of the MDG’s Goals, Targets or Indicators, yet an estimated one billion people worldwide live with varying degrees of disability.

For a synthesis of recent evidence on the rights of persons with disabilities and the practical implications for social exclusion and aid, see the following GSDRC topic guide:

Chrichton, J., Haider, H., Chowns, E., & Browne, E. (2015). Human Rights: Topic guide. Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham. 
See in particular the section on the human rights of persons with disabilities

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2011). Disability and the Millennium Development Goals: A Review of the MDG Process and Strategies for Inclusion of Disability Issues in Millennium Development Goal Efforts. New York: UN.
This publication provides a ‘road map’ for how and why disability can and should be included in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of MDG-related programmes and policies.
Access full text: available online

World Health Organisation & the World Bank (2011). World Report on Disability: Summary. Geneva: WHO.
This report finds that more than a billion people, about 15 per cent of the world’s population, are estimated to live with some form of disability. It synthesises the evidence on how to address the barriers they face in health, rehabilitation, support and assistance, environments, education and employment. It argues that many of the barriers are avoidable, and that the disadvantages associated with disability can be overcome. Multiple, systemic interventions are needed.
Access full text: available online

Yeo, R. (2001). Chronic Poverty and Disability. Background Paper 4. Manchester: Chronic Poverty Research Centre.
 Disabled people make up approximately 10 per cent of any population and more of those living in chronic poverty. The international development targets are unlikely to be met without including disabled people. There is, however, a risk the targets could cause a focus on those easiest to bring out of poverty, not those in chronic poverty. While there has been a shift towards considering disability rights in rhetoric, in many places there has been little concrete action. Existing research uses different definitions of disability and impairment, and definitions are complicated by cultural variations on what impairments cause marginalisation. Disabled people exert little influence on policy makers, are hard for researchers to reach and research methods can also exclude them. Existing anecdotal evidence, however, points to a disproportionate number of disabled people in all countries amongst those in extreme or chronic poverty.
Access full text: available online

Munsaka, E. (2015). Exclusion in Development Initiatives: A Study of Women with Disabilities in Binga, Zimbabwe. Community Development Journal, 50(2), 180–195.
Women with disabilities (WWDs) want to participate in their communities’ development but have faced barriers, this small-group qualitative research in Binga (Zimbabwe) shows. Women had difficulties accessing formal support that would enable their participation. Dehumanisation and ‘othering’ positioned them as incapable, unproductive, dependent and inferior. This negated their agency and undermined their potential and self-esteem. Governmental and non-governmental actors largely reinforced such exclusion. The author recommends monitoring and enforcing the inclusion of WWDs in initiatives of their choice, as well as increasing the critical awareness and training of community workers.
Access full text: available online

Trani, J. & Loeb, M. (2012). Poverty and Disability: A Vicious Circle? Evidence from Afghanistan and Zambia. Journal of International Development, S1, S9-S52
Access full text: available online

HIV/AIDS

Social exclusion can increase the risk factors leading to HIV infection, making the disease much harder to prevent.  The stigma associated with the infection also means that in many countries people living with HIV and AIDS are likely to be socially excluded. Some groups will find their exclusion compounded by contracting the virus and find themselves blamed for their condition, for example gay men, young women and widows. This can make HIV and AIDS more difficult to treat.

Operario, D. (2008). The Epidemic Through Voices – Impact and Vulnerability. In UNDP, Living with HIV in Eastern Europe and CIS: The Human Cost of Social Exclusion (chapter 2). United Nations Development Programme.
How does the HIV epidemic impact on human development? What are the specific challenges amongst vulnerable populations? This paper examines the impacts of HIV in Eastern Europe and CIS countries. A human development perspective is called for, providing a comprehensive approach to match the complex challenges of HIV.
Access full text: available online