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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Introduction
 The formation of female-headed...
 Resource acquistion by women
 Female and male headed household...
 Importance of age and household...
 Women in the cycle of family and...






Group Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Title: Female-headed households in an agro-pastoral society
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Title: Female-headed households in an agro-pastoral society
Series Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Nyhus, Sheila M.
Massey, Garth
Publisher: University of Florida
Publication Date: 1986
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Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Africa -- Somalia
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The formation of female-headed households
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Resource acquistion by women
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Female and male headed household compared
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Importance of age and household size for female headed households
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Women in the cycle of family and economy: Some development implications
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
Full Text













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Conference on
GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION



















FEMALE-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS IN AN AGRO-PASTORAL SOCIETY


Sheila M. Nyhus
Coordinator
Office of Women and Development
University of Wyoming


Garth Massey
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
University of Wyoming


Paper Presented at the 1986 Conference on Gender Issues In Farming
Systems Research and Extension, University of Florida, Gainesville,
Florida, February 26-March 1, 1986


4- CC










Female Headed Households in an Agro-Pastoral Society*


The Bay Region, encompassing approximately 39,000 square kilometers,

is located in southcentral Somalia between the country's only two rivers,

the Juba and the Shebelle. Because of minimally sufficient rainfall the

rural population practices a mixed economy of farming and pastoralism.

The main crop is sorghum with milk from goats, cows, and/or camels

providing an important supplement for the people's subsistence diet.

The majority of the Bay Region's half a million people

identify themselves as Rahanweyn, people from northern and central Somalia

who, as a result of a series of migrations, settled in the interriverine

areas, mixing with the existing Bantu and Galla communities.1 While the

people from the north had been nomadic pastoralists, the possibility to

engage in dry-land farming allowed them to develop a more settled way of

life. Vestiges of the nomadic way still remain as the region's

environment does not allow for its entire population to remain settled

all of the time. Families with more than a few animals must take their

livestock away from the village during the dry seasons in search of graze

and water.



*This paper is based on research done as part of the Socioeconomic
Baseline Study of the Bay Region of Somalia, for the Bay Region
Agricultural Development Project. The fieldwork, completed over a one
year period (June 1983--June 1984), was accomplished by three coordinated
research teams. Information was gathered in 83 village meetings, a
survey administered to a sample of 815 household heads (ninety-two
percent of whom were male), a survey administered to 147 women,
observations and informal discussions. The research was funded by USAID
Project Number 649-0113.

1I.M. Lewis. "From Nomadism to Cultivation." In M. Douglas
and P.M. Kaberry's Man In Africa. 1969. Pp. 59-77.









Water is the scarcest and most precious resource of the people

of this region. At the heighth of the Jilaal (January-March) many local

sources of water dry up and women must walk up to eight hours to fill

containers (haans) to take back to their families. At times of severe

drought entire villages load their belongings on camels and move to a

distant source of water. Because of this need to be mobile during at

least part of the year, many people continue to live in the nomadic hut

(hoori) which can be taken apart and loaded on a burden camel to be

transported to another location. The hoori remains such an important

part of the lifestyle of the Rahanweyn that few women marry until they,

with the help of their mothers, have made a hoori of their own.

Traditionally women have been valued as important contributors of

labor, childbearers, and nurturers. Women perform almost all of the

tasks of men as well as exclusively female work. In addition, women can

own land and livestock -- although Islamic and Somali customary law have

worked against their acquiring them through inheritance. A woman's

opportunity for acquiring land and livestock are increased if she is a

childless widow, or has no brothers and her father's relatives do not

take the majority of the animals and land2 upon the death of her father.

The household (qoys) is the primary economic unit in the Bay Region

and is composed of members of a single residential unit. The persons



2Even in the latter case a woman may in time develop a sizeable
herd. One of the women interviewed during the fieldwork related the
following: Her father owned fifty cattle at the time of his death when
she was a young girl and his only child. His brothers gave her one cow,
keeping the remaining forty-nine for themselves. Over the years her one
cow multiplied to her present herd of twenty-five. This is, however, an
unusual case. Most women who own livestock have far fewer animals.









comprising the household form both a unit of production through the

distribution of tasks and a unit of consumption. A family will grow

its own sorghum and may have one or more lactating animals to provide

milk for family members. The objects used by the family, such as mats,

ropes and containers are made by its members.

The majority (over ninety percent) of households in the Bay Region

are headed by men and reflect the region's patrilineal, polygynous

culture. While the nuclear-polygynous family is the central productive

unit, its composition may change throughout the year as family members

come and go and others are brought temporarily into the economic

activities of the household. The family must often cooperate with, and

rely on, other kin and/or neighbors in order to farm and keep livestock

successfully. The composition of the household dictates both family

labor availability and subsistence needs--setting a major parameter to

the economic strategies people adopt.

The Formation of Female-Headed Households

The women of the Bay Region spend the majority of their adult

experience as wives. It is a rare woman who never marries. This is

illustrated by the fact that during our fieldwork we never encountered a

middle-aged woman who had not been married at least once. Even if a

woman cannot bear chidlren, her labor is of significant value.

With marriage comes the possibility for widowhood or divorce. Of

the 147 women who were interviewed using the Women's Survey, almost half

(forty-two percent) had been divorced or widowed at least once.

Twenty-five of these women had experienced both divorce and the death of

a husband. Female household heads are more likely than women who are

presently wives to have had multiple marriages. They average 2.15

marriages, compared to 1.42 marriages for presently-married women.











If a woman's husband dies, her young children will usually remain

with her though they may go to the deceased man's family. In the case of

divorce, however, it is the husband's prerogative to decide with whom the

children will live. Young children, especially a child who has not yet

been weaned, will often stay with their mother until they are old enough

to work in their father's household. Older children will usually

continue to live with their father or his relatives.

A divorced or widowed woman has several alternatives depending on

her circumstances. She may join another household, trading her labor for

her family's sustenance. That is, she may return to her parent's

household or that of an adult child, sibling or relative. Of note is

that 148 of 815 households surveyed contain one or more elderly parents,

84% of which are households in which an elderly mother resides with her

adult son or married daughter. In these cases the females are not

considered the head of household but are dependents of their children.

Remarriage is a second option. The third possibility, if she has the

resources (land/animals), is for her to establish her own household.

Compared to married women, female household heads are much older

and, because they are more likely to have completed their child-bearing

years, have had on average more children. Only a quarter of all female

household heads are under forty years of age; thirty-one percent are

sixty or over. This compares to wives, two-thirds of whom are under

forty and only four percent are sixty or over. Female household heads

have had an average of 4.9 children, compared to an average of 3.5

children for all wives. Thus in the majority of cases, it is older

women, no longer bearing children and with a means to provide for their

own subsistence, who become head of their own household.









Resource Acquisition by Women

When a couple marries a meher agreement is made which is determined

by the local sheik. If the husband has not given his wife her meher

during their marriage, he is expected to do so when they divorce. The

payment of meher, however, is not enforced. Seventy-seven percent of the

divorced women interviewed did not receive their meher. Of those who did

receive their meher, the majority (seventy-three percent) received less

than the amount agreed upon. For example, a woman whose meher was to be

four cows received one, and a woman who was to.receive one cow was given

a goat.

When a woman's husband dies his property may be left to her, their

children or his family.3 Only twenty-three percent of the widows,

however, received any of their husband's property following his death.

This property consisted of either animals, land or animals and land, with

a few women receiving money only. Women whose fathers die without male

heirs occasionally inherit their father's holdings.

In addition to the above, women gain ownership to land, animals and

household goods in a variety of ways. When a woman marries she may be

given some of her father's property. This transference of property takes

two forms: haduun hir and wahaad. The haduun hir is actually a gift

given to the child at birth by a member of the father's family, usually

the father's brother or father's father. Depending on the wealth of the

family the gift will be either a goat, cow or camel. Traditionally, the

giving of the animal to the newborn child is symbolized by tying the



3Though the Koran is specific about the division of inheritance, few
people in the Bay Region know of or practice this. The "general rule" is
for a female to receive half of what a male receives. Even this is not
usually followed.








6
child's umbilical cord to the gift animal's tail. The animal will then

be kept with the child's father's animals. Any offspring that the

original gift animal may bear belong to the child. When the child is

grown and marries, whatever livestock have accrued from the original gift

are transferred to the now adult child for their own use and disposal.

The wahaad is the giving of a portion of the father's own property

to the daughter or son. Sons may be given their inheritance at any time

(before marriage, at the time of marriage or later); daughters, if they

are to receive wahaad, will do so when they marry. Sons receive land and

animals as wahaad; daughters, except on rare occasions, receive only

animals. The reason given for this is that when she marries and leaves

her father's household she can take animals with her, but she cannot take

land. This practice also ensures the keeping intact of family land in

the original patriline. The Rahanweyn often treat the haduun hir as the

daughter's wahaad. Among respondents to the Women's Survey only twenty-

two percent received wahaad.

Whether or not a woman receives some of her father's property, she

will be given aqal by her family at the time of her first marriage.

Among the Rahanweyn aqal has come to mean the things given to a woman to

make her new home.4 This should include at a minimum the materials needed

to make a hoori: woven mats, flexible poles, and ropes. In addition a

woman may receive haans (carved or woven containers for water and milk),

cooking pots and utensils, a bed and other things that she will need to

set up housekeeping. These objects are hers and, if divorced, she

will keep her aqal.



In northern Somalia among the nomads aqal is the term used for the
nomadic hut, called a hoori in the south.







7

Besides acquiring from her father or husband a woman has three other

means by which she may obtain property of her own. If her mother has

land or animals she (and her sisters) will usually receive it rather than

the male offspring. Occasionally women will be given land/animals by a

relative. Women also acquire land/animals by purchasing it themselves.

Of the 2155 women in the Bay Region who were asked if they owned a

farm, thirty-eight percent said that they did. Among the 215 were

eighty-two women who were head of household. Eighty-seven percent of

these women own one or more farms. In contrast only eight percent of the

women interviewed who were not head of household owned a farm.

The older a woman is, the more likely she is to have a farm, and

farms of older women are usually larger than those of younger women. The

fact that women generally acquire farms through inheritance helps to

explain why farm ownership and the status of head of household is greater

among older women.

When a woman is past forty her chances of remarrying are not high.

If her extended family can afford to do so she may be given land as a

means to support herself and others in her household. Overall, female

household heads are more likely to have received land from family members

than other women. The larger farms owned by women are usually the result

of a woman being the only surviving child of her parents or having no

children living or old enough to inherit her husband's land at the time

of his death.



5The 215 women are the respondents from the 147 Women's Surveys and
the sixty-eight women household heads from the Household Interview.









The Female- and Male-Headed Household Compared

In households of two or more persons, female-headed households are

much more likely to contain fewer persons an average of 3.3 persons,

compared to an average of 6.1 for male-headed households. The former are

less likely to contain children and, while twenty-eight percent of all

male-headed households contain an adult (a person over fourteen years of

age) who is not a spouse or adult child of the household head, only ten

percent of the female-headed households contain such an adult.

In terms of economic activities, how different or similar are

female-headed households to male-headed households? Because they are

considerably smaller, one would expect them to have smaller farms, fewer

animals, greater constraints on their labor and be less able to

reciprocally engage in group labor activities. None of these differences

would indicate a qualitatively different type of household economy for

female-headed households. Only if households of the same size but

with male rather than female household heads differed significantly

with regards to holdings, activities and problems could any special

attribution be made to the sex of the household head.

1. Number of farm plots. No significant difference exists, when
controlling for household size: 82% of all female-headed
households and 78% of all male-headed households have a single
farm plot.

2. Amount of land under cultivation. No significant difference,when
controlling for household size, can be attributed to the sex of
the head of household. Regardless of household size, approximately
a third of a hector is cultivated in sorghum per household
member though this varies by the family's degree of involvement
in livestock husbandry.

3. Sorghum planted in the last two seasons. Though there is no
significant difference between households of the same size,
female-headed households of all sizes are slightly less likely
to have planted sorghum than comparable male-headed households.


6University of Wyoming. Socioeconomic Baseline Study of the Bay
Region of Somalia. Report prepared for the Bay Region Agricultural
Project, Vol. II, p.41.









4. Unplanted land due to lack of labor. As the size of the household
increases, the size of the farm increases, as does the need
for farm labor. Somewhat ironically, the larger the household
the more likely is some land to have been left unplanted. This
was less the case for male-headed households than female-headed
households; while fifteen percent of the former idled land due
to labor shortages, a third of all the latter did.

The labor shortage is felt more acutely when the sorghum needs
to be weeded. In addition, fifty.percent of the women do not
have enough labor for field preparation, planting or chasing
birds away from the fields. Only during harvest do the majority
of women feel that they have adequate farm help. This labor
shortage for women is due in large part again to the fact that
half of all women household heads live in households of three
people or less. Often these women must rely on grown children
and relatives who have their own households and farms or, less
often, work groups made up of members of the village to help
them with their farm work.

5. Amount of yields, amount stored and sorghum sales. The size of
yield, amount stored and tendency to sell grain are directly
proportional to household size, for both male- and female-headed
households. Among neither had more than five percent of the
households sold any of their harvest in the last year.

6. Use of other's land/other's use of your land. This rarely
occurs, regardless of the sex of the household head.

7. Ownership of chickens. As the size of the household increases,
the number of chickens owned increases, but more so for male-
than female-headed households of six or more persons.
Male-headed households are eighteen percent more likely to have
chickens than female headed-households.

8. Ownership of larger animals. Table I shows the percent of
households owning four species of animals sheep, goats, cattle
and camels by size of household and sex of household head.
Female-headed households consistently have fewer animals, but
the difference is great only with sheep (which only ten percent
of all households own) and camels. In the case of cattle,
larger female-headed households are even more likely to own
larger numbers of animals than are male-headed households, where
53% of the households have six or more cattle, compared to 25% of
the larger (six-plus persons) male-headed households.

9. Location of animals. Women household heads tend to keep their
animals near the village. In contrast as size of household
increases for male household heads, they are more likely to have
their animals away from the village for at least part of the
year. When asked if their animals were away from the village









Table I: Percent of Households Having Larger Animals, by Size
of Household and Sex of Household Head

Size of Household
Two Five Six + All
One Person Persons Persons Households

Sheep
Male-Headed 10 8 20 13
Female-Headed 0 3 8 4

Goats
Male-Headed 30 27 43 36
Female-Headed 13 26 42 28

Cattle
Male-Headed 50 76 87 82
Female-Headed 53 86 92 79

Camels
Male-Headed 10 22 34 29
Female-Headed 20 13 8 13










last year, female household heads consistently regardless
of animal species indicated that the animals were more likely
to have remained near their village, rather than being taken
elsewhere for water or grazing. In fact, no female-headed
household with six or more persons had animals away in the last
year, while a third of the male-headed households had cattle
away and over twenty percent had camels away in the last twelve
months.

10. Who does the herding? Regardless of the sex of the household
head or the size of the household, males are seven times more
likely to herd camels and three times more likely to herd cattle
than are females. Goats are equally likely to be herded by
males or females, largely as a consequence of having children of
either sex responsible for goat herding. Households of all
sizes rarely hire labor; four percent of both male- and female-
headed households hired labor for the care of animals.

11. Participation in cooperative labor. Overall, male heads of
households more frequently work with others on their own farms
and the farms of others than do women who head households.
This difference exists, however, only for those in small and
medium sized households. In larger households, female heads are
more likely both to work for others and to have others work for
them. The exception to this is single-person households where
women are twice as likely to have others work for them as are
men. This is probably explained by the fact that such households
contain,respectively, only an elderly woman or a young, able but
unmarried man.


Importance of Age and Household Size for Female-Headed Households

As the material presented has shown, older women are more likely to

be heads of households than younger women and these households are

likely to be smaller than those headed by males. The consequences of

these factors are not hard to see.



7For efficiency sake, most veterinary services are presently
rendered at major watering points where animals congregate during the
dry seasons. Because the animals of female household heads are more
often kept near the village, they are less likely to receive this
treatment (15% had received treatment, compared to 38% of the male-headed
household's herd). In terms of development efforts, this difference in
livestock keeping, and the problem it poses for the treatment of women's
animals, should be addressed.







12
Older women are more likely to have inherited land and/or animals,

the use of which provides their means of support. They will have had

more husbands, on average, than younger women, will more likely be

widowed or have had their fathers die and leave them some inheritance.

They will have had a longer period of time in which to accumulate some

savings for the purchase of animals or land.

A female household head will usually have completed her child bearing

and may have adult children on whom she can count for temporary labor

needs. As well, the children of her children may be available to help

her. Younger women lack these sources of labor which constitute the main

types of help for females, as compared to men who rely more on neighbors,

male siblings and their dependent children.

As Table II shows, smaller households are much more likely to

experience a shortage of labor than larger households, regardless of the

sex of the household head. Because female-headed households are

disproportionately represented among the smaller households, they are

more likely to have a chronic shortage of help (despite their greater

access to the help of family members, as discussed above). Relative to

younger women, female household heads may have a larger support network

in times of labor needs, but compared to male-headed households, the

smaller household size greatly constricts the range of activities that a

female-headed household can develop. Thus, smaller farms, more land left

idle, smaller harvests, less marketing, fewer animals and less

opportunity to maximize strategies of herd growth are more often the

situation for female- than male-headed households.

Only in the case of camel holdings can the direct influence of

cultural values be seen as differentially affecting the situation of










Percent of Households Without Adequate Labor, By Size of
Household, Rural Bay Region, Household Interview


Enough Labor for Farm Work


Size of Household


% Yes


% No


Total N


Table II:


1-3

4-6

7-9









male- and female-headed households. The Somalis are fond of praising

their camels, and will occasionally explain that, "Camels are good for

dying." What this means is that a man will seek to accumulate camel

holdings in preparation for his passing away. A man who provides camels

as part of his estate will be well remembered. A funeral that is marked

by the slaughter of a camel, allowing many people to participate in the

rite of his death, will be a more important event than one accompanied

by the eating of goats.

This cultural prescription does not apply to women. Women are not

expected to provide an inheritance, nor is their memory attached to the

pomp and circumstance of their funeral. Women, in short, are under no

compulsion to have camels as their death approaches, and this probably

contributes to their lesser tendency to have them as female head of

households.8

Women in the Cycle of Family and Economy: Some Development Implications

In the Bay Region, aside from the availability of water, labor is

the greatest constraint on production. The practice of polygyany and the

ease with which divorce occurs maximize every woman's fecundity. No

woman goes unmarried and no man unable to sire children will long remain

with a 'barren wife'. A man will seek to increase the size of his

household as rapidly as conditions -permit, allowing him to benefit from

the additional labor in the form of surplus production. The consistent

relationship between household size and family holdings, production

levels, grain stored and sold, and livestock marketed all point to the



8The difficulty of handling camels favors young men as camel
herders. This, however, does not mean that women are not able to handle
camels which they frequently do but they are unlikely to herd larger
numbers of camels away from the village for extended periods of time.










advantage larger families have over smaller ones.

The lower level of affluence/subsistence found among female-headed

households is a matter of both problems of accumulation and inheritance

faced specifically by women, as well as the limitations women face in

increasing the size of their households. This obvious point has

implications for the analysis of women in the productive sphere and for

development efforts that occupy the remainder of this paper.

Cultural constraints, gender definitions and prejudices against

women cannot be relied on to explain the situation of female-

headed households. In fact, male- and female-headed households look

remarkably similar, when size of household is held constant. This is

because they face similar problems in dealing with a difficult and

unpredictable environment through a rudimentary set of technologies.

What does make female-headed households different is traceable to

the circumstances surrounding marriage. In a patrilineal society, the

woman joins her new husband's family, abrogating many of her former ties

and means of support. The imbalance of the marital pact under patriarchy

means that she does not have equal or preferential rights to her

children, nor is she able to accumulate husbands as a means of increasing

the size of her household and the amount of labor available to her. When

a man wants to improve his lot, the most direct means is through his

increasing the number of wives and children he has. A female household

head is precluded from taking this strategy, thus she is cut off from

reproducing her labor in the way that is available to men.

That women bequeath their holdings to their daughters and sisters is

quite significant. If there is an empirical indicator in our work which

reveals a preference, it is probably this. Women prefer to have property

and support each other in this preference. The majority of women, old








16
and divorced or widowed, take up residence with adult sons and married

daughters as dependents. They can hardly do otherwise. Conversely,

women with holdings and enough available labor adequate to provide the

means of being self supporting choose to become heads of households.

Occasionally, those young enough to remarry (i.e. who could bear

additional children) will opt, if possible, for having their own

household. They stand to gain little by another marriage.

Women constantly face the prospect of divorce and widowhood.

Because they do not have equal access to their deceased husband's estate,

rights to their children, or the guarantee that meher will be paid, they

seek security for the future in the possession of land and animals. It

is in the interest of men (and the need for maximizing population growth)

that younger women be prevented from too readily acquiring property.

There is no loss, however, for older women to establish their own

households. Neither patriarchy nor the competitive advantage of larger

families are threatened by this category of households; the unbalanced

terms of marriage insure this.

Yet, the Bay Region is marked for change. Tens of millions of

dollars are going toward agricultural intensification, improved health

care, water development, road building and livestock production. Though

today little has changed for the mass of peasant producers, change will

,come. What does the analysis of the female-headed household indicate

about the course of this change?

In the first instance, development will most likely benefit the more

prosperous producer first (and perhaps, exclusively). The adoption of

inputs to farming, improved access to markets, increased livestock








17

production and all that these 'advances' entail will probably not benefit

the poorer female-headed household. Her farm is small and her ability to

partake in intensified crop production, increased animal husbandry and

new markets is minimal. Today, labor is her major constraint. Tomorrow

it may be political interests, expendable capital and weakened support

for those cultural values which provide support to her in times of need

that limit her ability to obtain a decent way of life.

More directly, 'modernization' has been interpreted by the

Government of Somalia to mean the restriction of polygyany to only those

who can clearly show an ability to provide for a larger family

(interpreting the Koranic prescription of polygyany very narrowly). It

has also meant an effort to equalize inheritances for males and females.

Today a woman can go to court in Somalia and demand her rightful

inheritance, something that has happened in the rural areas only rarely.

Both of these would seem to favor the formation of female-headed

households.

A lessening of polygyany would have at least three important

effects. First, it would become easier for men to marry at a younger

age, in response to the larger pool of available females who would

previously have become the second or third wife of an older man. Second,

it would reduce the amount of remarriage, many of which take place

between divorced or widowed women and men who already have one or more

wives. Third, it would probably lead to a reduction in the rate of

divorce. A man can more comfortably divorce a wife if he has more than

one, knowing that his basic needs will still be cared for.

The first two of these could conceivably contribute to an increase

in the number of female-headed households. The increase would be










greatest for women who would previously not have had the resources to

maintain their-own household. That is, there could well be a marked

increase in the 'feminization of poverty' among the Rahanweyn should

polygyany be effectively reduced through governmental efforts.

Would this potential impoverishment be offset by the improved

economic position of women that would come about by increasing their

access to inherited property? On the face of it, the answer appears to

be, Yes. Women would be more likely to have holdings animals.and land

which could support them and their household. Yet increased holdings

require increased labor. Nothing in the 'modernization' plans of the

government indicate that female-headed households would be larger and

thus able to take advantage of their inheritance. In fact, many female-

headed households today are composed of older women, their divorced

daughter and the daughter's children. If divorce decreases, even this

source of help will be reduced from existing levels. Thus, it is

conceivable that women would be no better off and the region as a whole,

should the holdings inherited by women not be used efficiently due to

lack of labor, would not benefit.

These scenarios are highly speculative. There is no evidence that

any of the government's dictims will take effect, now or in the future,

merely because they are the law. These scenerios, however, reveal two

things that must be kept in mind with regard to female-headed households

and social development. The first is that, unless corrective measures

are deliberately taken, women as household heads will be likely

candidates for impoverishment with the onset of the increased inequality

that almost automatically accompanies development efforts undertaken by

Western countries.







19
The second is that altering some manifestations of patriarchy

without dismantling the entire edifice will not benefit women. Changing

the inheritance of property to benefit women, in a labor-dependent

environment, is a hollow reward for their contribution to the household

economy. So long as men have exclusive rights to the children of both

parents, the female household head will continue to be disadvantaged and

relegated to an inferior position due to her gender.




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