Gendered Vulnerability: An Account of Female Headed Households in India

Achala Gupta, University of Cambridge
Nandan Kumar, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

In the patriarchal society of India, where male has the right of inheritance on property, headship of the household is also transferable to the male heir. A household is headed by female mostly due to loss of male breadwinner. Around 60 Per cent of female headed household is headed by widow. Gendered vulnerability of households is reflected by 14.2 Per cent of female headed household, being poor according to Standard of Living Index (SLI), while such proportion for Male Headed Household is 15.6 percent. These differentials vary according to the level of poverty, male-female educational disparity and indicators of woman’s autonomy or empowerment. Education, land-holding and type of house are some asset determinants that explain the level of poverty among female headed household significantly. This paper voices the duality of vulnerability faced by female and her household thus presents the less focused but important aspects of gender and demographic processes.

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Presented in Poster Session 5