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Land grabbing

"We Have No Voice for That”: Land Rights, Power, and Gender in Rural Sierra Leone

Citation:

Millar, Gearoid. 2015. “‘We Have No Voice for That’: Land Rights, Power, and Gender in Rural Sierra Leone.” Journal of Human Rights 14 (4): 445–62.

Author: Gearoid Millar

Abstract:

Much attention has recently focused on the lease of land throughout the global south to nations and corporations in the global north. It is argued that local people’s access to and relationships with the land are being redefined and that large segments of these populations are being denied their rights to land with potentially detrimental effects for their livelihoods and food security. This article explores one such project in Sierra Leone, focusing specifically on the experiences of rural women. The data illustrate how these women experience this 40,000 hectare bioenergy project as disempowering and disruptive. While these women may have the formal right to participate in land decisions and project benefits, they had no such right in practice. I argue here that this outcome is the result of compound disempowerment that results from the complex interaction of indigenous social and cultural dynamics and the supposedly gender-neutral logic of liberal economics.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2015

Women’s Bigger Burden: Disparities in Outcomes of Large Scale Land Acquisition in Sierra Leone

Citation:

Armah, Frederick Ato, Karin Steen, and Genesis Tambang Yengoh. 2015. “Women’s Bigger Burden: Disparities in Outcomes of Large Scale Land Acquisition in Sierra Leone.” Gender Issues 32 (4): 221–44.

Authors: Frederick Ato Armah, Karin Steen, Genesis Tambang Yengoh

Abstract:

Women farmers make up a majority of small-scale food producers in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite their important role in the food and livelihood security of their households and communities, women continue to face substantial challenges in their rights of and access to land resources in the region. In a number of countries such as Sierra Leone where large-scale land acquisition is ongoing, we posit that women’s predicament may further deteriorate. Using data drawn from a survey of household and livelihood activities, focus groups and interviews we examine the outcomes of large-scale land acquisitions on women at the local level in two districts in Sierra Leone. We found that first, women depend more on land-based natural resources that directly affect the day-to-day welfare of households (such as firewood and medicinal plants) than men. Second, land acquisitions have led to a significant fall in the incomes of women and men. The effects of the fall of women’s income have more direct and profound consequences on household wellbeing compared with men. Third, men tend to rank the effects of land acquisitions on women lower than women do. We conclude that current social and cultural norms and women’s role in rural societies is complex and predisposes women to negative livelihood processes and outcomes associated with large-scale land acquisitions. Policy interventions designed to address local and national challenges to socio- economic and cultural development should recognize the crucial role played by women and be responsive to their special needs.

Keywords: women, livelihoods, land acquisition, gender, land rights, land resources

Topics: Development, Gender, Gender Roles, Households, Land grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2015

Women, Land and Justice in Tanzania

Citation:

Dancer, Helen. 2015. Women, Land and Justice in Tanzania. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer. 

Author: Helen Dancer

Annotation:

Summary: 
Recent decades have seen a wave of land law reforms across Africa, in the context of a "land rush" and land-grabbing. But how has this been enacted on the ground and, in particular, how have women experienced this? This book seeks to re-orientate current debates on women's land rights towards a focus on the law in action. Drawing on the author's ethnographic research in the Arusha region of Tanzania, it explores how the country's land law reforms have impacted on women's legal claims to land. Centring on cases involving women litigants, the book considers the extent to which women are realising their interests in land through land courts and follows the progression of women's claims to land - from their social origins through processes of dispute resolution to judgment. Dancer's work explores three central issues. First, it considers the nature of women's claims to land in Tanzanian family contexts, the value of land in an era of land reform and the 'land rush' across Africa, and the extent to which the social issues raised are addressed by Tanzania's current laws and legal system. Secondly, it examines how agency and power relations between social and legal actors engaged in legal processes affect women's access to justice and the progression of claims. Thirdly, it explores Tanzanian concepts of justice and rights and how women's claims have been judged by land courts in practice. Helen Dancer is a lecturer in Law at the University of Brighton. She practised as a barrister in England specialising in family legal aid cases prior to training as a legal anthropologist. She is also a consultant for Future Agricultures at IDS, University of Sussex. Her areas of research interest include law and development, gender and land, and human rights and legal pluralism. (Summary from JSTOR)

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2015

Women’s Land Rights and Working Conditions in Large-Scale Plantations in Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2016. “Women’s Land Rights and Working Conditions in Large-Scale Plantations in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Africa Development 41 (3): 49–69.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Women’s land rights are fundamental for women’s economic empowerment. Increasingly, the nationalization of customary land and the current growth in private land ownership and commercial farming are exerting strong pressure on land and are a threat to women’s usufruct land rights. The discourse over land reforms in most poor African countries like Cameroon is embedded in the evolutionary models where customary landholding systems are changing into state land ownership with greater market integration. These changes are taking place within limited state protection of communal and women’s land rights in the process of land registration. This article discusses the evolution, actors and activities involved in large-scale land acquisitions in the sub region within the framework and women’s rights to land and working conditions in the plantations. Through simple mapping from an in-depth desktop review and some level of field observations and conversations with some of the actors involved in affected localities in Cameroon, the article highlights women’s experiences as customary communal land is transferred into private ownership. In fact, wherever land has been taken up for plantation agriculture, women’s access to land has reduced, making them more vulnerable to hunger, poverty and poor working conditions. This is because women’s land rights have not evolved with the customary evolution into private tenures. Current processes of large-scale land acquisitions should therefore create conditions for women’s participation through a fair degree of equal opportunities, transparency, and accountability to communities, and relevant institutions.
 
FRENCH ABSTRACT: 
Les droits fonciers des femmes sont fondamentaux pour leur autonomisation économique. De plus en plus, la nationalisation des terres coutumières et la croissance actuelle de la propriété foncière privée et de l’agriculture commerciale exercent une forte pression sur les terres et constituent une menace pour les droits d’usufruit fonciers des femmes. Le discours sur les réformes foncières dans la plupart des pays africains pauvres comme le Cameroun s’inscrit dans les modèles évolutifs où les systèmes fonciers coutumiers se transforment en propriété foncière étatique avec une plus grande intégration du marché. Ces changements se produisent dans le cadre d’une protection limitée de l’État sur les droits communaux et les droits fonciers des femmes dans le processus d’enregistrement foncier. Le présent article traite de l’évolution, des acteurs et des activités en matière d’acquisition de terres à grande échelle dans la sous- région ainsi que des droits fonciers des femmes et leurs conditions de travail dans les plantations. Grâce à une cartographie simple faite à partir d’une revue documentaire approfondie, d’observations sur le terrain et de conversations avec certains des acteurs impliqués dans les localités touchées au Cameroun, cet article souligne les expériences des femmes face à la transformation des terres communales coutumières en propriété privée. En fait, partout où la terre est utilisée pour l’agriculture, l’accès des femmes à celle-ci a diminué, les rendant plus vulnérables à la famine, la pauvreté et aux mauvaises conditions de travail. C’est parce que les droits fonciers des femmes n’ont pas évolué au rythme de la transformation des terres costumières en tenures privées. Les processus actuels d’acquisition de terres à grande échelle devraient donc créer des conditions propices à la participation des femmes, par l’équité des chances, la transparence et la reddition de comptes par les communautés et les institutions concernées.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2016

Realizing Socially-Responsible Investments in Land from a Gender Perspective: Unpacking 'Zero Tolerance' to Identify Barriers and Practical Steps to Achieve Equitable and Sustainable Investments

Citation:

Hannay, Leslie, David Bledsoe, and Mina Manuchehri. 2016. "Realizing Socially-Responsible Investments in Land from a Gender Perspective: Unpacking 'Zero Tolerance' to Identify Barriers and Practical Steps to Achieve Equitable and Sustainable Investments." Paper presented at 2016 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty: Scaling Up Responsible Land Governance, Washington, DC, March 14-18.

Authors: Leslie Hannay, David Bledsoe, Mina Manuchehri

Abstract:

To be socially responsible, land-related investments must ensure that women and men are not harmed, are meaningfully consulted and give consent where their rights are affected, are fairly compensated for lost land and resource rights, and benefit equitably from the investment. Importantly, socially responsible investments should not contribute to “gender gaps” by systematically disenfranchising women or men. Realizing corporate commitments to socially responsible investments requires an understanding of and affirmative steps to address gender differences, yet companies may view addressing women’s issues as a step beyond their core commitments on land. They are not. Understanding the gender dimensions of their commitments to socially responsible land-based investments is a necessary first step for many investors to make good on their commitments.

To date, many leading agribusiness companies, notably Cargill, Illovo Sugar, Nestle, PepsiCo, the CocaCola Company, and Unilever, have made statements or commitments regarding land. This paper will analyze these companies’ public statements, commitments, and policies on land from a gender perspective in order to demonstrate what gender-sensitive socially responsible investments carried out under these commitments would entail, and to shed light on the challenges and pragmatic implications that such commitments present.

This paper will ‘unpack’ these companies’ commitments to socially responsible investments to analyze the challenges and concrete steps that are needed to realize a “zero-tolerance” commitment for both men and women affected by land-related investments in order to ensure that:

  • Women are equal beneficiaries of investments in land;
  • Economic and social practices that disadvantage women are not further entrenched by investments; and
  • Women are not worse off as a result of such investments.

Keywords: gender, large-scale investments, social responsibility, women

Topics: Economies, Gender, Gender Analysis, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights

Year: 2016

Women, Gender and Protest: Contesting Oil Palm Plantation Expansion in Indonesia

Citation:

Morgan, Miranda. 2017. “Women, Gender and Protest: Contesting Oil Palm Plantation Expansion in Indonesia.” The Journal of Peasant Studies.

Author: Miranda Morgan

Abstract:

This study explores the conditions that lead to the participation of rural women in protest. Drawing from a case study in Indonesia, it finds that gender relations are integral to shaping the motivations and political opportunities that lead to women’s decisions to participate in protests around land. It also argues that gender relations are not fixed. Individual actors play an influential role in opening up new political opportunities for women, who are discursively cast as apolitical. Despite dominant gender relations that tend to exclude women from politics, the presence of women in protest opens up the possibility that rural struggles around land and dispossession, though ostensibly free of explicit gender concerns, may simultaneously serve as sites of struggle over gender as well. (Abstract from original)

Topics: Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Political Participation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year:

Entre el despojo y la restitución: reflexiones sobre género, justicia y retorno en la costa caribe colombiana

Citation:

Meertens, Donny. “Entre el despojo y la restitución: reflexiones sobre género, justicia y retorno en la costa caribe colombiana.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 52, no. 2 (2016): 45–71.

 

Author: Donny Meertens

Abstract:

Este artículo explora, a través de un lente de género centrado en la relación mujer-tierra, los múltiples discursos de justicia que entran en juego en los contextos de despojo y restitución de tierras en Colombia. El despojo de tierras es más que un asunto material, pues tiene otras dimensiones (sociales y simbólicas), todas marcadas por el género, las cuales se presentan nuevamente en la restitución. Las investigaciones realizadas en el Caribe colombiano sugieren que el modelo legal de restitución, centrado en lo material, tiene efectos limitados de justicia ante las experiencias subjetivas de las mujeres que retornan al campo como propietarias de tierra. Lo anterior se debe a la difícil reconstrucción de las dimensiones sociales y simbólicas de la restitución en los territorios posviolencia, en términos de restauración de la dignidad, el sentido de pertenencia y la legitimidad social. (Abstract from original source)
 
This article explores, through a gender lens focused on women and land, the multiple discourses on justice at stake in the contexts of both violent land dispossession and land restitution in Colombia. Land dispossession is more than a material affair and its multiple dimensions (social, symbolic), all with a gender mark, are also present in the restitution process. Research carried out in Colombia’s Caribbean region suggests that the legal model of land restitution, focused on the material aspects, has only limited success in terms of justice as it does not sufficiently address the subjective experiences of the women who return to the countryside as formal landowners. This is due to the difficult reconstruction of the social and symbolic dimensions of restitution in “postviolent” territories, in terms of the restoration of dignity, sense of belonging, and social entitlement. (English translation provided by original source)

Topics: Gender, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Domesticando el Despojo: Palma Africana, Acaparamiento de Tierras y Género en el Bajo Aguán, Honduras

Citation:

León Araya, Andrés. “Domesticando el Despojo: Palma Africana, Acaparamiento de Tierras y Género en el Bajo Aguán, Honduras.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 53, no. 1 (2017): 151–185.

Author: Andrés León Araya

Abstract:

Con base en el testimonio de vida de una familia campesina, este artículo explora la contrarreforma agraria, entendida como un proceso de acumulación primitiva, que se llevó a cabo a principios de los noventa en Honduras. Más específicamente, se busca recuperar la vivencia compartida de muchas mujeres campesinas a través de una perspectiva etnográfica y de género que proporcione ciertas luces sobre cómo opera el despojo, en tanto proceso permanente y constitutivo del capitalismo. (Abstract from original source)
 
From the perspective of a peasant family, this article explores the agrarian counter reform that took place in Honduras in the early 1990s, as a process of primitive accumulation. Specifically, it attempts to recuperate the shared experience of many peasant women through an ethnographic and gendered perspective, which sheds some lights on how dispossession, defined as a permanent and constitutive process of capitalism, operates. (English translation provided by original source)

Topics: Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Honduras

Year: 2017

Interrogating Large Scale Land Acquisition and Its Implication on Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Ghana

Citation:

Darkwah, Akosua K., Peace A. Medie, and Maame Gyekye-Jandoh. 2017. “Interrogating Large Scale Land Acquisition and Its Implication on Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Ghana.” Working Paper No. 401/August 2017. The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, Boston, MA.

Authors: Akosua K. Darkwah, Peace A. Medie, Maame Gyekye-Jandoh

Abstract:

Large scale land acquisitions have become increasingly common across Africa. This paper draws on two case studies of large scale land acquisitions in Ghana to examine how the practice affects communities in general, and women in particular. It explains that while there have been some benefits of these acquisitions, the costs to communities mostly outweigh the benefits. Women are particularly impacted by this practice as their livelihoods are affected and they are excluded from the proceeds of land transactions. The paper concludes with a discussion of the actions that state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and communities have taken to address the negative impact of large scale land acquisition on women and their communities. (Abstract from original source).

Topics: Economies, Economic Inequality, Environment, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Land grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2017

These Days We Have to Be Poor People: Women’s Narratives of the Economic Aftermath of Forced Evictions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Citation:

McGinn, Colleen. 2015. “These Days We Have to Be Poor People: Women’s Narratives of the Economic Aftermath of Forced Evictions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.” Paper presented at Land Grabbing, Conflict and Agrarian-Environmental Transformations: Perspectives from East and South-East Asia Conference. Chiang Mai University, June. 

Author: Colleen McGinn

Abstract:

“This paper explores the economic aftermath of forced evictions for urban Cambodian women. It is based on an analysis of in-depth narratives of 22 women displaced from five locations in Phnom Penh, the capital city. Evictees’ overall post-eviction coping and adaptation proved to be grounded in their economic circumstances, which in turn framed other risk and resilience factors. The nature and degree of economic harm resulting from the evictions varied widely, and followed specific patterns consistent with pre-displacement socioeconomic status, livelihood source, and the degree to which social networks were embedded in their former neighborhoods. Those who worked in the informal sector experienced shocks to their livelihoods, especially those who landed in remote locations. Homeowners were more typically harmed in terms of assets: they might maintain relatively stable incomes, but lose enormous value of their properties. A third group experienced a catastrophic double blow affecting both livelihoods and assets; this group tended to include shopkeepers whose shelter and livelihoods were both tied to their property. There were also some women who reported that forced eviction had had a relatively benign impact on them. These narratives were idiosyncratic. However, several explanatory factors emerged, including these women had intact livelihoods, superficial ties to their former neighborhoods, and/or found new housing nearby. I conclude with recommendations, including compensation at full market value for seized properties, and broad urban planning measures to protect and encourage affordable rental housing within the city, proximate to diverse livelihood opportunities. A housing/shelter focus to advocacy, policy, and assistance strategies is too narrow, because it poorly addresses the livelihood crisis experienced by many of the displaced.” (Abstract from original source

Keywords: gender, land grab, eviction, Cambodia, Southeast Asia, state-gender relations

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2017

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