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 60: Moving Beyond Gender and Poverty to Asset Accumulation: Evidence from Low-income Households in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Caroline Moser


Caroline Moser Introduction Feminist development debates have extensively examined the complexity of the gendered nature of poverty. Recent seminal contributions include the gendered impact of neoliberal reforms in which the ‘male bias’ in macroeconomic structural adjustment processes has forced women to increase their labour both within the market and the household (see Elson, 1991; Moser, 1993). Closely linked has been a second debate, first elaborated by Buvinic and Youssef (1978) that female-headed households are poorer than those headed by males. Since the 1990s this has been popularised as the ‘feminisation of poverty’ by UNICEF, the World Bank and various bilateral agencies (Jackson,1998). Despite widespread evidence of the diversity among female-headed households and the fact that the ‘feminisation of poverty’ tends to victimise women, it remains a contentious debate – useful for donor support but not necessarily empirically accurate (Chant, 2008, and Chapter 15, this volume; Medeiros and Costa, Chapter 12, this volume). Yet, to date, the lack of adequate data, as well as appropriate methodology, has meant that the gendered nature of asset ownership and accumulation has received far less attention. For instance, research surveys of the ownership of land, housing, livestock and other productive assets tend to collect data at the household rather than the individual level. This chapter seeks to redress this, by comparing the gendered nature of income poverty and asset accumulation, illustrated by data from a longitudinal study of an urban community in Ecuador. It focuses on two dimensions of gendered-asset accumulation; first, household headship, differentiating...

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