1:15—3:30 PM
Center for Global Development
2055 L St, NW
- Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20036

Is Household Headship a Useful Concept? A Research and Policy Conversation

Presentation on Poverty and Headship

Dominique van de Walle, Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development

A Conversation on Household Headship: Data Collection and Use

Caren Grown, Senior Director, Gender and Development, World Bank

Sunita Kishor, Director, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)

Jose Antonio Mejia, Lead Specialist, Modernization of the State, Inter-American Development Bank

Gbemisola Oseni, Senior Economist, Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS), World Bank

Agnes Quisumbing, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI


Mayra Buvinic, Senior Fellow, CGD & Data2X


Household surveys typically identify a head of household and disaggregate this information by sex. Female headship is both commonly used and heavily criticized as a proxy measure for women’s poverty. Many use it as the only available gauge for women’s well-being; others recommend doing away entirely with the concept of headship in survey instruments. This conversation, co-hosted by the Center for Global Development and Data 2x, will explore the pros and cons of both views with statisticians and expert gender and development researchers. The event will begin with a presentation by Dominique van de Walle on her current research on women’s headship and poverty in Africa, and then she will join the panel to discuss headship data collection and use.

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