Women and Property in Urban India
258 pages, 6 x 9
5 b&w photographs, 8 tables, 1 map
Release Date:01 Dec 2011
Release Date:07 Nov 2010
Release Date:01 Jan 2011

Women and Property in Urban India

UBC Press

Half the world's population now lives in cities. Althoughsheltering the urban poor is a priority for governments, NGOs, andinternational development agencies, few studies or initiatives focus onwomen's needs.

In Women and Property in Urban India, Bipasha Baruah drawson research conducted in Ahmedabad in collaboration with theSelf-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) to map the constraints andopportunities that low-income women throughout the Global South face insecuring property, which remains overwhelmingly in male hands. Thesewomen's experiences and vulnerabilities open a window to assess notonly the patriarchal underpinnings of land tenure and property laws butalso theoretical approaches to gender and development. Although thedevelopment community holds out microcredit financing as a potentialsolution to address gender inequalities as well as the housing needs oflow-income families, Baruah cautions that it has glaring limitationswhen applied to women.

Whereas most books on gender and development focus on issues such asbarriers to women's equal access to wages, education, and politicalparticipation, this book highlights the importance of property as amaterial and symbolic asset in women's empowerment.

The book is intended for academic researchers and students of
development studies, women's studies, geography, urban planning,
public policy, economics, and sociology, as well as a broader
non-academic audience of international development organizations,
development practitioners, planners, and policy specialists.

The Millennium Development Goals, a global social contract of sorts, have drawn attention to the stark reality of urban poverty across the world. While policy makers tackle issues of poverty, lack of services and infrastructure, violence, and marginality, almost none broach the issue of women’s experiences in the city. Baruah’s important book addresses this gap by providing a tangible outline of women’s struggles to gain access to urban property, build assets, and thus to negotiate empowerment. Ananya Roy, author of Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development
Women and Property in Urban India addresses some topics of critical contemporary importance, such as: How are innovative solutions by feminist NGOs rendered difficult in practice? What are the constraints and possibilities of NGO governance? Baruah’s work offers provocative and complicated insights into these areas and helps delineate the ways in which we think about feminist coalition, North-South relations, modes of activism. Srimati Basu, author of She Comes to Take Her Rights: Indian Women, Property, and Propriety
Bipasha Baruah is an assistant professor ofinternational studies at California State University, Long Beach. Shehas also served as a gender specialist on CIDA's Eastern CaribbeanEconomic Management Program and as a consultant on gender andenvironmental issues to Foreign Affairs Canada.

1 Minding the Gap: Gender and Property Ownership

2 Locating Gender and Property in Development Discourse

3 Place Matters: Orientation to Research Location and Context

4 Complicated Lives: Urban Women and Multiple Vulnerabilities

5 Gendered Realities: Property Ownership and TenancyRelationships

6 Women and Housing Microfinance

7 Partnership Projects for Urban Basic Services

8 Conclusions: Seeing the Forest and the Trees





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