A Focus on Housing and Work

UP 659 Fall Term 2001
Monday 12-3 p.m. Room 2207 Art and Architecture Building


Instructor:  Hemalata C. Dandekar    
Email:   Office Rm. 2208 C Art and Architecture  Office Hrs. 9-11 A.M.
Course website:

Course Content:

This is a research seminar that is designed to engages students in an inquiry of issues related to gender and its implications for individual development/empowerment.  Work by students in both domestic and international, comparative context is encouraged.  A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, “round table” discussion format is envisioned.  Although course readings and lectures will have a specific emphasis on gender and housing, and, gender and work, students interested in research on other aspects of gender and development are encouraged to bring these perspectives to the table.  Specific attention will be paid to the situation of women relative to men with regard to their access to housing and work and the implications of this for societal well being.    

Presentations by the instructor will review the evolution of thinking about women’s development.  Recent literature on women and housing and women and work particularly with respect to self-employment and micro-enterprise will be discussed.  Students will conduct a scrutiny and critical analysis of: economic and social processes that perpetuate gender inequalities; make connections between theory and case evidence; survey recent literature in development planning and related disciplines; and identify approaches to research that produce theory-grounded action and policy.

The work will culminate in a final term paper.

Background On Women and Housing and Women and Work:
1.  Women and Housing
Around the world, women's access to shelter is inextricably linked with her economic, legal, and social status.  While there is substantial evidence that the international shortage of housing is predominantly a woman's problem, consideration of gender issues in the provision of shelter remains marginal in policy decisions. Both the tangible, physical structures and the less tangible social infrastructure needed by women, particularly those of low and moderate incomes must be considered. Women's lack of control over housing design, finance and management and the implications of this for their well being and that of their children must be understood. Examination of family structure, legal structure of ownership and access and the shelter-production process are needed.

 2.  Women and Micro Enterprise
A predominant number of working women in the world, particularly in the developing world, in rural and urban contexts, are engaged in informal sectors of the economy. Their entrepreneurship in micro-enterprises, both home based and in the public realm, help sustain families in all social strata, but are particularly critical to the viability of lower income families. Policies have been implemented to improve the climate for women's success in micro-enterprises. These have included promotion of systems to extend micro-credit to women-owned enterprises, development of banking structures to facilitate production and job training which is appropriate to their needs for technical assistance. Research questions relate to: methods to identify structures which optimally facilitate such enterprise; ways to assess policies of technical assistance; and an examination of the physical and social infrastructure needed for success in micro-enterprise and strategies to facilitate their delivery.   


Goals and Objectives:

This course is designed to be useful to students at two stages in their study of gender and its implications for development.  It will serve to expose those students who are initiating work with a gender perspective by reviewing current theories about, and discussions on the rationale for, studying the ramifications of gender for individual and societal development.  It will also serve students who have completed some discrete research or enquiry on a particular topic providing a forum in which their ongoing efforts to bring this work to a comple written form will receive attention and commentary.


This course is suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.  It is designed for students interested in research and policy related to gender, housing, work and development.


This is a research seminar.  Students will participate in shaping the research and discussion environment.  A preliminary schedule and reading list are delineated.  Additional topic and readings may be included to reflect student interests.  Student participants will complete a research based end-of-term paper.  Other assignments include:

Adding to class reading list the literature which is most relevant to their selected research topic
Assigned review of readings. Students will be responsible for reviewing and presenting to the class selected           readings at  assigned sessions.
Review at two junctures in the term the evolution of ongoing  work on research papers and formal presentation of  final paper in class during the last two sessions. 

Each student will be responsible for completing a 20-page original research paper. 


Schedule Fall Term 2001  (Draft)

Wk.     Date                             Theme                                      Topic/Videos/Guests

1          Sept. 10                    Introduction                             Course Overview/ Topic Videos

2          Sept. 17                    Gender and Development            Dandekar  Theory Overview

                                                                                                Video/ Potential guest lecture                                                                                             

3          Sept. 24                    Women and Housing                 Dandekar Theory Overview

                                                                                                Presentation of on-going research

                                                                                                Topics for potential research                                                                                  

4          Oct. 1                          Women and Work                     Dandekar Theory Overview

                                                                                                  Topics for potential research


5          Oct. 8                          Student Reviews of Gender and Development Literature

6          Oct 15                         Student Reviews of Women and Housing Literature

7          Oct 22                         Student Reviews of Women and Work Literature

8          Oct 29                         Research Methods  Review            

Qualitative, Quantitative and Visual/Spatial                Dandekar

9          Nov. 5                         Organization of Writing (Theory/Observation)            Dandekar

10        Nov. 12                        Students summary of research

11        Nov. 19                        TBD                                                    

12        Nov. 26                        TBD

13        Dec. 3                          Student Presentatons    Final Paper Due.