This book examines the contradictions between the prevailing ideologies and cultural practices and the economic interests of women in poor households in Asia. Here the primacy of economic needs necessitates that all members of the household, women, men and children engage in income generating employment; yet at the same time prevailing ideologies often impose restrictions on women's work. Thus caught in the poverty trap they face conflicting choices between survival needs and social acceptability. This collection of essays demonstrate the differing or complementary roles played by different agents such as the State, private employers, religious groups, the community and the family and their effects on the lives of impoverished women in India, Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The degree of complementarity or contradiction varies according to country, class, caste and ethnicity. What is of interest, however, is the way they are manifested and in whose interest they are resolved.