The minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities (PJHC) provides students with a multifaceted understanding of human well-being both within the US and internationally. This interdisciplinary minor emphasizes a “capabilities approach,” which considers what people are able to do and be – for example, live to old age and engage in economic and political activities – rather than strictly what material goods they possess. The program also acknowledges the central importance of a variety of additional influences on well-being beyond income, such as gender, racial and ethnic disparities, health status, education, human rights, political freedoms, and material necessities like food and shelter. A key goal of the PJHC is to enrich students’ understanding of poverty and inequality so that, regardless of their choice of occupation, they will maintain a longstanding commitment to enhancing the well-being of all people. More generally, the program trains students to be leaders in solving global problems.
Although impediments to human well-being take many forms, barriers to the capabilities of women and girls persist across societies; women and girls are therefore disproportionately represented among the poor and those unable to attain their full capabilities. Acknowledging gender inequality as a powerful influence on disparities in human well-being, the academic component of the program -- including the content of core and required courses -- recognizes gender as a central analytic category.