Female Headship: Comparing Peruvian and Vietnamese Households

Paola Tami Aritomi, Pennsylvania State University
Rukmalie Jayakody, Pennsylvania State University

Although female headship is a commonly used category in demographic research, there is no consensus on its definition. Consequently, varying definitions are employed by different studies, leading to different implications for programs and policies. We specifically examine these various definitions and the implications of using one versus another, focusing on Peruvian and Vietnamese families. Although women-headed households are frequently examined in industrialized countries, studies fail to understand them in lower-income settings and varying economic and social structures. Data come from the Vietnamese and Peruvian 1998/1999 and 2002/2000 LSMS and 2002 YLP surveys. Although Peru and Vietnam face large inequality and poverty levels, they have experienced significant economic growth and increasing female workforce entrance over the past years. These macro-economic improvements have shaped women-headed households’ capacity to cope with unexpected negative shocks and long term poverty. Traditional household compositions and social policy implementations determine these households’ resilient positions.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design