The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 56: Gender, Livelihoods and Rental Housing Markets in the Global South: The Urban Poor as Landlords and Tenants

Sunil Kumar


Sunil Kumar Drawing upon research from cities in India, Mexico and Botswana, this chapter explores the meaning and significance of a gendered perspective on urban rental housing markets. The role of rental housing as a livelihood has been neglected in relation to ownership, despite the evidence that the poor rent rooms to a significant proportion of other urban poor individuals and households in the Global South. Furthermore, gendered perspectives on housing tenure have examined the role of men and women ‘separately’ rather than exploring the ‘relationship’ between men and women in rental housing markets. The main emphasis of this chapter is on a gendered treatment of how rental housing is (1) part of a livelihood portfolio in its own right for those who provide it, and (2) as a pathway to other livelihood opportunities for tenants. Specifically in relation to women-headed and women-maintained households it can also play an important psycho-social role. It is argued that such a perspective provides sympathetic policymakers with a stronger case for the implementation of a gendered rental housing policy. A gendered perspective on urban housing and human settlements The importance of identifying and incorporating gender into the design of urban housing as well as planning for urban development has been stressed since the mid1980s (see for example, Chant, 1996; Moser, 1987). However, such explicit attention has, by and large, not been made in relation to rental housing markets (an exception being Datta, 1995). Moser (1987) was one of the first to stress the connection...

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