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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rethinking Household Headship Among Eritrean Refugees and Returnees
Author:Kibreab, Gaim
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:Eritrea
female-headed households
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
Cultural Roles
Family Life
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Abstract:One of the most common generalizations concerning refugee populations is that they are dominated by female heads of households and children. It is claimed that men are either killed in the wars that prompt displacement or are left behind to fight. This assumption has continued to determine the policies of relief and development agencies, as well as governments in countries of asylum and return. On the basis of empirical data from UNHCR and household data from Eritrea, this paper questions the validity of such a dominant assumption. The paper also problematizes the concept of household headship by showing that it is a cultural construction whose meaning varies from one cultural context to another. There is, thus, no definition of headship that can apply cross-culturally. It also argues that since female heads of households are not socially and economically homogeneous, household headship is not an appropriate method of identifying the poorest of the poor for targeting or provision of emergency relief or for productive inputs in development programmes. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]