In this paper we describe and explain country differences in the effect of gender on the risk of becoming poor, using data from the Luxembourg Income Study on 22 industrialized countries. Although in most countries women are more likely to become poor than men, this is not the case for all countries. Composition effects explain 18 per cent of the country differences: differences in the educational level of the population are most important, whereas labor market participation plays a smaller role. Country characteristics, especially economic growth and social-democratic tradition, explain between 29 and 36 per cent of the country differences in the gender-poverty-gap. Both composition effects and country characteristics are better suited to explaining the disadvantages of women than the disadvantages of men.