Housing and Single Mothers in the KMT Regime of Taiwan, 1949-2000

  • Yi-Ling Chen National Hualien University of Education
Keywords: Housing, Gender Relations, Feminist Movement, Single Mother


Demographic change, feminist movements and research in the First and Third Worlds have made the female-headed family a visible category in urban policies. The history of feminist spatial research marks a shift from the analyses of gender roles to gender relations. This research uses both approaches to analyze single mother's housing conditions in Taipe. First, it builds a gender category, and second, interprets gender inequality from the interaction between the productive and reproductive, public and private domains. It links housing with family, labor market structures, legal systems, and state policies to explore how their interactions produce and reproduce gender relations in Taiwan. In contrast to North American or English women's experiences, the status of Taiwanese women is dominated by a patrilineal family structure. The patrilineal principle in the public and private domain leads to Taiwanese women's inferior status in property rights, autonomy, family supports, economic status, and welfare. The housing policy of Taiwan, however, remained gender blind up until the 1990s. This paper will reveal the housing conditions of single-mother families and explain their inferior housing conditions. Housing policies under the KMT regime from 1949 to 2000 distributed most of the resources to affluent home-buyers and the state's supporters, primarily military personnel, government employees and developers. The social inequality in these policies not only increased the gap between rich and poor but also between men and women.


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