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A quite common perception about women and property is that women do not have much, at least by comparison to men. Even if women do have property formally in their names, men seem to be the ones who initially acquired it and actually control it. Though there are exceptions—even whole societies that are exceptional—they have a rather exotic air. In the ordinary course of things, we are surprised to find women of great wealth, just as we are surprised to find women who lead Fortune 500 companies. On the other hand, it is hardly news that women are disproportionately represented as heads of household among the poor. Between these extremes of wealth and poverty, women just do not seem to be as "propertied" as men, except insofar as they happen to be located in families headed by men. Indeed, even within the household, the serious money often seems to be at the disposal of the husband, not the wife.

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