Sexist reasons for gender equity

I’m doing some reading on joint-titling in low income countries. In an article in Feminist Economics, I came across a description of the city of Chandigarh in northern India, where the local government decided to implement a joint titling policy for slums, not because they particularly cared about getting women access to land, but because they felt that nagging wives would stop their husbands from selling it!

One last, important reason why Chandigarh is an interesting place for studying informal settlements is that it recently introduced an innovative way to prevent property sales in regularized settlements – ‘‘joint titling.’’ The government has decided to allot houses in the name of both husband and wife, replacing the earlier policy of recognizing only the head of household, usually the male, as the homeowner. Joint titling was implemented because government policy-makers believed that women are inherently more attached to their homes than men and would therefore resist any attempt by their husbands to sell the house for profit. These gender differences in attitudes towards the home, officials assumed, would reduce property sales and enhance the effectiveness of housing policies.

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