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Chant, Sylvia (H.) 1958-

CHANT, Sylvia (H.) 1958-


Born December 24, 1958, in Dundee, Scotland; daughter of Stuart (a senior lecturer in microbiology) and June (a legal secretary) Chant; married Andrew McInally (a furniture designer), May 14, 1992 (divorced, December 2, 1994); married Chris Mogridge (a financial analyst and triathlete), January 2, 2002. Education: King's College, Cambridge, B.A. (geography; honors), 1981; University College London, Ph.D, 1984.


Office—London School of Economics, Department of Geography and Environment, S515, St. Clements Bldg., Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Liverpool University, Liverpool, England, lecturer in geography and Latin American studies, 1987-88; London School of Economics, London, England, lecturer in geography, 1988-95, reader in geography, 1995-2002, professor of development geography, 2002—. University of London, associate fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies; Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain, visiting professor in gender studies, 2001. Acted as consultant to World Bank, United Nations Development Program, ILO, Economic Commission of Latin Americas (ECLA), Commonwealth Secretariat, UNUWIDER LEAD International (Rockeller), UNICEF-Ecuador, and Womankind Worldwide. Also editorial advising board member of International Development Planning Review, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Journal of Migration Studies, and Critical Business.


Society for Latin American Studies.


Nuffield Social Science Research Fellowship, 1994-95; finalist, National Book Award for Social Science (Philippines), 1995, for Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange, and Philippine Development; Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, 2003-06.


(With Caroline O. N. Moser) The Role of Women in the Execution of Low-Income Housing Projects: Training Module, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Nairobi, Kenya), 1986.

(With Lynne Brydon) Women in the Third World: Gender Issues in Rural and Urban Areas, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1989.

Women and Survival in Mexican Cities: Perspectives on Gender, Labour Markets, and Low-Income Households, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor) Gender and Migration in Developing Countries, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Cathy McIlwaine) Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange, and Philippine Development, Pluto (London, England), 1995.

Gender, Urban Development, and Housing (volume two of the "Habitat II" series), United Nations Development Programme (New York, NY), 1996.

Women-Headed Households: Diversity and Dynamics in the Developing World, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Cathy McIlwaine) Three Generations, Two Genders, One World: Women and Men in a Changing Century, Zed Press (London, England), 1998.

(With Matthew Gutmann) Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development: Debates, Reflections, and Experiences, Stylus Publications (Herndon, VA), 2000.

(With Nikki Craske) Gender in Latin America, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 2003.

Contributor of chapters to books and of articles to scholarly journals.


Gender, Generation, and Poverty: Exploring the Feminisation of Poverty in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, for Edward Elgar (Cheltenham, England); research for Intergenerational and Household Dimensions of Poverty in the Gambia, Philippines, and Costa Rica.


Geography professor Sylvia Chant has focused her research efforts on women in developing countries, publishing the results of her studies in a number of volumes. In Women and Survival in Mexican Cities: Perspectives on Gender, Labour Markets, and Low-Income Households, Chant examines the links between the household structures of women employed in the workforce outside of the home. In doing so, she provides "intriguing glimpses into the way in which households expand or contract in response to surrounding pressures," noted Economic Development and Cultural Change reviewer M. Patricia Fernandez Kelly. "This book should have wide appeal not only to students of Mexico and Latin America but, perhaps more significantly, to those interested in a comparative approach to the relationship between household, gender, and labor markets," Kelly added. Likewise, Sociology reviewer Sue Szabo applauded the "comprehensive and excellent overview of literature on women's employment and household structure," although she felt that the small sample size diminished the study's statistical validity. "Ultimately," Szabo concluded, "the book will stand as a significant contribution to filling the gap which … exists between the literature on women's work and development and that of the effects of economic change on household form."

Chant presents another look at female-run families in Women-Headed Households: Diversity and Dynamics in the Developing World, a "meticulously researched analysis of women-headed households [that] brings into focus important issues for policy and research in the developing, as well as the (post-) industrialised world," to quote Ruth Pearson, writing for the European Journal of Development Research. Chant examines a large body of data and stresses the need to study the age of the head of household, as well as the class, ethnic, and racial make-up of the rest of the household. "A striking feature of the book is the way it points up the very different political and policy debates in advanced and developing countries," Pearson remarked. In developed countries, the social role and influence of the lone mother is of particular importance, while in developing countries many lifestyle issues have no relevance in the face of making sure women have a way to earn a living.

Chant's book Gender in Latin America, written in association with Nikki Craske and shortly to be published in Spanish for publication by Ciesas del Occidente (Guadalajara, Mexico), provides an overview of continuity and change in Latin American gender relations over the last three decades. In a review for Contemporary Sociology, Nancy Lopez heralds the book as a "major contribution to the growing literature that moves from examining gender as 'women' to 'gender as process,' which includes men and women conjointly."

As she told CA, Chant passionately enjoys writing about gender and development issues, particularly where she is able to draw on her own primary research with women and men at the grassroots and is able to give ample space to their own voices and stories. For this reason, the favorite of her own books is Women-Headed Households, which documents the experiences of women in Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Philippines who, for one reason or another, have ended up raising children without the support of co-resident husbands or partners. Chant's main aims with her writing, as she expressed to CA, "are to enrich the experiences of her students, to inspire and engage her fellow scholars, and to sensitise policymakers to the needs and interests of disadvantaged women in developing countries."



Ahfad Journal, June, 2001, Badri Balghis, review of Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development: Debates, Reflections, and Experiences, p. 70.

Contemporary Sociology, 2004, Nancy Lopez, review of Gender in Latin America, pp. 294-296.

Economic Development and Cultural Change, April, 1993, M. Patricia Fernandez Kelly, review of Women and Survival in Mexican Cities: Perspectives on Gender, Labour Markets, and Low-Income Households, pp. 671-673.

European Journal of Development Research, December, 1998, Ruth Pearson, review of Women-Headed Households: Diversity and Dynamics in the Developing World, pp. 187-188.

Journal of Contemporary Asia, January, 1998, Herb Thompson, review of Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange, and Philippine Development, pp. 130-133.

Latin American Research Review, 2001, Susan Tiano, review of Women-Headed Households, pp. 183-203.

Sociology, February, 1992, Sue Szabo, review of Women and Survival in Mexican Cities, pp. 139-140.

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