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Land Rights

Women and Land in Northern Nigeria: The Need for Independent Ownership Rights

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J., and Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim. 2003. “Women and Land in Northern Nigeria: The Need for Independent Ownership Rights.” In Women and Land in Africa: Culture, Religion and Realizing Women’s Rights, edited by L. Muthoni Wanyeki. London: Zed Books.

Authors: Hussaina J. Abdullah, Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim

Annotation:

Summary: 
"This study is therefore intended to contribute to an understanding of land as it relates to women and as viewed from the human rights paradigm. The main objective is to undertake a critical, empirical study of women's land rights in northern Nigeria, and the manner in which these rights are shaped by religion, tradition and law. The purpose is not only to examine women's rights of access to, ownership of and control over land, including women's inheritance rights, but also to study how religion (canonical and Sharia), tradition and law (customary and non-customary) act and interact to condition the definition and practice of women's land rights. The primary focus is a review of historical practice and an analysis of empirical data on three categories of women (married, divorced, and widowed). Marriage is used as a determining variable in women's land rights because it is the major means by which women and men access land in Africa. However, whereas women's land rights are dependent on their relations with men, men's land rights are not dependent on their relations with women. Moreover, women are threatened with dispossession if divorced or widowed (Small 1997: 46)" (Abdullah and Fofana-Ibrahim 2003, 134).

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2003

"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

The Politics of Property: Gender, Land and Political Authority in Solomon Islands

Citation:

Monson, Rebecca. 2017. “The Politics of Property: Gender, Land and Political Authority in Solomon Islands.” In Kastom, Property and Ideology: Land Transformations in Melanesia, edited by Siobhan McDonnell, Matthew G. Allen, and Colin Filer, 383-404. Canberra: ANU Press.

Author: Rebecca Monson

Annotation:

Summary: 
"This chapter links questions about social differentiation in land relations in Solomon Islands to debates about gender inequality in the exercise of formal political authority. I demonstrate that, although land tenure is dynamic and contested, different people are differently positioned to influence the outcomes of negotiations over land. In particular, once contests over land enter the arenas established by the state, it is primarily male leaders—often referred to as ‘chiefs’—who perform, endorse and reject claims to land as property. While the dominance of senior men in these arenas is often perceived by foreign observers as rooted in ‘customary’ ideas about ‘who may talk’ about land matters, I suggest that it is also linked to long-term processes of colonial intrusion, missionisation, and capitalist models of development" (Monson 2017, 385). 

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Economies, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Oceania Countries: Solomon Islands

Year: 2017

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

Land for Agriculture—Silent Women: Mens' Voices

Citation:

Kenneth, Roselyne. 2015. “Land for Agriculture-Silent Women: Mens' Voices.” In Bougainville before the Conflict, edited by Anthony J. Regan and Helga M. Griffin, 374-87. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Author: Roselyne Kenneth

Annotation:

Summary:
“Entitlement to land constitutes an important base for a person’s status in Haku society on Buka Island. Associated with it are political consequences for the individual as well as for the society. This chapter focuses on the part played by both men and women in negotiations and decisions governing access to agricultural land in their communities, especially the part played by ‘maternal uncles’ and women’s voices in such processes. It also examines to what extent socio-political changes have affected the standing of women and their authority in contemporary society.
 
"On occasions when matters about customary land are discussed, the scene is dominated by men. A first impression is therefore that although the society is matrilineal, it is the men who dominate socio-political life. However, from the perspective of traditional Haku society, absence from public life was not the same as lacking power. The traditional position of women, although rarely exposed in public, included the power to exercise authority, especially in matters concerning land and other inherited rights. Thus, if women remain silent during public meetings, it does not mean that they lack the power to exercise authority in certain matters" (Kenneth 2015, p. 374).

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Oceania Countries: Papua New Guinea

Year: 2015

Depressive Symptoms among Arab Bedouin Women Under Threat of House Demolition in Southern Israel

Citation:

Daoud, Nihaya, and Yousef Jabareen. 2014. “Depressive Symptoms among Arab Bedouin Women Under Threat of House Demolition in Southern Israel.” Health and Human Rights 16 (1): 170–91.

Authors: Nihaya Daoud , Yousef Jabareen

Abstract:

Housing is a fundamental human right and a social determinant of health. According to international law, indigenous peoples are entitled to special housing and health rights and protections. In Israel, land disputes between the government and Arab Bedouins, an indigenous minority, have resulted in ongoing demolitions of Arab Bedouin homes, with thousands more homes threatened. While demolitions could expose this population to mental health problems, research linking house demolition and health is scarce. In this paper, we draw on a human rights perspective to describe this housing instability and examine the association between the threat of house demolition and depressive symptoms (DS) among 464 Arab Bedouin women. We conclude that having their house under threat of demolition is an important determinant of poor mental health among Bedouin women. Any efforts to decrease DS among these women will have to take place alongside efforts to stop this practice.

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2014

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

Land Reform and Welfare in Vietnam: Why Gender of the Land Rights Holder Matters

Citation:

Menon, Nidhiya, Yana Van der Meulen Rodgers, and Alexis R. Kennedy. 2017. “Land Reform and Welfare in Vietnam: Why Gender of the Land Rights Holder Matters.” Journal of International Development 29 (4): 454–72.

Authors: Nidhiya Menon, Yana Van der Meulen Rodgers, Alexis R. Kennedy

Abstract:

Vietnam’s 1993 Land Law created a land market by granting households tradable land-use rights. This study uses mixed methods to analyze whether increased land titling led to improvements in household economic security and whether land titles in women’s and men’s names had different effects. Using a matched sample of households from Vietnam’s 2004 and 2008 Household Living Standards Survey, we find that land-use rights held exclusively by women or jointly by couples result in beneficial effects that include increased household expenditures, greater women’s self-employment, and lower household vulnerability to poverty. Results from interviews conducted in Vietnam support these conclusions by indicating that women with sole or joint ownership of land enjoyed greater well-being and higher status.

Keywords: Vietnam, Property Rights, land reform, gender, economic security, land-use certificates

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Households, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2017

Women's Rights and Development

Citation:

Fernández, Raquel. 2018. “Women’s Rights and Development.” Journal of Economic Growth 19 (1): 37–80.

Author: Raquel Fernández

Abstract:

Why has the expansion of women's economic and political rights coincided with economic development? This paper investigates this question by focusing on a key economic right for women: property rights. The basic hypothesis is that the process of development (i.e., capital accumulation and declining fertility) exacerbated the tension in men's conflicting interests as husbands versus fathers, ultimately resolving them in favor of the latter. As husbands, men stood to gain from their privileged position in a patriarchal world whereas, as fathers, they were hurt by a system that afforded few rights to their daughters. The model predicts that declining fertility would hasten reform of women's property rights whereas legal systems that were initially more favorable to women would delay them. The theoretical relationship between capital and the relative attractiveness of reform is non-monotonic but growth inevitably leads to reform. I explore the empirical validity of the theoretical predictions by using cross-state variation in the US in the timing of married women obtaining property and earning rights between 1850 and 1920.

Keywords: women's rights, development, Property Rights, fertility, patriarchy

Topics: Development, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2018

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