Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis


Levien, Michael. 2017. “Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (6): 1111–34.  

Author: Michael Levien


This paper seeks to advance our understanding of the gendered implications of rural land dispossession. It does so through a comparative analysis of five cases of dispossession that were driven by different economic purposes in diverse agrarian contexts: the English enclosures; colonial and post-colonial rice irrigation projects in the Gambia; large dams in India; oil palm cultivation in Indonesia; and Special Economic Zones in India. The paper identifies some of the common gendered effects of land dispossession, showing in each case how this reproduced women’s lack of independent land rights or reversed them where they existed, intensified household reproductive work and occurred without meaningful consultation with—much less decision-making by—rural women. The paper also demonstrates ways in which the gendered consequences of land dispossession vary across forms of dispossession and agrarian milieu. The most important dimension of this variation is the effect of land loss on the gendered division of labour, which is often deleterious but varies qualitatively across the cases examined. In addition, the paper illustrates further variations within dispossessed populations as gender intersects with class, caste and other inequalities. The paper concludes that land dispossession consistently contributes to gender inequality, albeit in socially and historically specific ways. So while defensive struggles against land dispossession will not in themselves transform patriarchal social relations, they may be a pre-condition for more offensive struggles for gender equality.

Keywords: land grabs, gender, dispossession, displacement, enclosure

Topics: Agriculture, Caste, Class, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Households, Land Grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa, Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Gambia, India, Indonesia

Year: 2017

Sustaining Peace in the “New Gambia”


Connolly, Lesley. 2018. "Sustaining Peace in the 'New Gambia.'" In Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works, edited by Youssef Mahmoud, Lesley Connolly, and Delphine Mechoulan, 59-64. International Peace Institute.

Author: Lesley Connolly


“This chapter highlights three main areas that should be prioritized for the purpose of sustaining peace in the Gambia: women’s empowerment, youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, and transitional justice and good governance. It explains how investment in these areas has helped prevent the escalation of conflict and how it can contribute to the maintenance of long-term national peace and stability” (Connolly 2018, 59-60).

Topics: Age, Youth, Conflict Prevention, Conflict, Gender, Women, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Gambia

Year: 2018

An Analysis of Water Collection Labor among Women and Children in 24 Sub-Saharan African Countries


Graham, Jay P., Mitsuaki Hirai, and Seung-Sup Kim. 2016. “An Analysis of Water Collection Labor among Women and Children in 24 Sub-Saharan African Countries.” PLOS ONE 11 (6): e0155981. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155981.

Authors: Jay P. Graham, Mitsuaki Hirai, Seung-Sup Kim



It is estimated that more than two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) must leave their home to collect water, putting them at risk for a variety of negative health outcomes. There is little research, however, quantifying who is most affected by long water collection times.


This study aims to a) describe gender differences in water collection labor among both adults and children (< 15 years of age) in the households (HHs) that report spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, disaggregated by urban and rural residence; and b) estimate the absolute number of adults and children affected by water collection times greater than 30 minutes in 24 SSA countries.


We analyzed data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) (2005–2012) to describe water collection labor in 24 SSA countries.


Among households spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, adult females were the primary collectors of water across all 24 countries, ranging from 46% in Liberia (17,412 HHs) to 90% in Cote d’Ivoire (224,808 HHs). Across all countries, female children were more likely to be responsible for water collection than male children (62% vs. 38%, respectively). Six countries had more than 100,000 households (HHs) where children were reported to be responsible for water collection (greater than 30 minutes): Burundi (181,702 HHs), Cameroon (154,453 HHs), Ethiopia (1,321,424 HHs), Mozambique (129,544 HHs), Niger (171,305 HHs), and Nigeria (1,045,647 HHs).


In the 24 SSA countries studied, an estimated 3.36 million children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for water collection in households with collection times greater than 30 minutes. We suggest that accessibility to water, water collection by children, and gender ratios for water collection, especially when collection times are great, should be considered as key indicators for measuring progress in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Boys, Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte D'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

Year: 2016

Towards a (re)Conceptualisation of the "Feminisation of Poverty": Reflections on Gender-Differentiated Poverty from The Gambia, Philippines and Costa Rica


Chant, Sylvia. 2010. “Towards a (re)Conceptualisation of the ‘Feminisation of Poverty’: Reflections on Gender-Differentiated Poverty from The Gambia, Philippines and Costa Rica.” In The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Resarch, Policy. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Author: Sylvia Chant

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Households, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Costa Rica, Gambia, Philippines

Year: 2010

The Unbearable Heaviness of Being: Reflections on Female Altruism in Cambodia, Philippines, The Gambia and Costa Rica


Chant, Sylvia. 2010. “The Unbearable Heaviness of Being: Reflections on Female Altruism in Cambodia, Philippines, The Gambia and Costa Rica.” Progress and Development Studies 10 (2): 145–59.

Author: Sylvia Chant


Reviewing existing scholarship and drawing on our own experience of microlevel qualitative research on gender in countries in three regions of the Global South (Cambodia, the Philippines, Costa Rica and The Gambia), this article examines patterns of women’s altruistic behaviour within poor family-based households. As a quality and practice labeled as ‘feminine’, the article illuminates the motives, dimensions and dynamics that characterise this apparently enduring female trait. It also makes some tentative suggestions as to how the links between women and altruism might be more systematically examined, problematized and addressed in development, and gender and development (GAD) analysis and policy.

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Households, Political Economies, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, Costa Rica, Gambia, Philippines

Year: 2010

Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: a Cross-National Study


Shandra, John M., Carrie L. Shandra, and Bruce London. 2008. “Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: A Cross-National Study.” Population and Environment 30 (1-2): 48–72.

Authors: John M. Shandra, Carrie L. Shandra, Bruce London


There have been several cross-national studies published in the world polity theoretical tradition that find a strong correlation between nations with high levels of environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and low levels of various forms of environmental degradation. However, these studies neglect the role that women’s NGOs potentially play in this process. We seek to address this gap by conducting a cross-national study of the association between women’s NGOs and deforestation. We examine this relationship because deforestation often translates into increased household labor, loss of income, and impaired health for women and, as a result, women’s non-governmental organizations have become increasingly involved in dealing with these problems often by protecting forests. We use data from a sample of 61 nations for the period of 1990–2005. We find substantial support for world polity theory that both high levels of women’s and environmental NGOs per capita are associated with lower rates of deforestation. We also find that high levels of debt service and structural adjustment are correlated with higher rates of forest loss. We conclude with a discussion of findings, policy implications, and possible future research directions.

Keywords: deforestation, women, non-governmental organizations, cross-national

Topics: Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Oceania Countries: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Year: 2008

Maternal Mortality in the Rural Gambia, a Qualitative Study on Access to Emergency Obstetric Care


Cham, Mamady, Johanne Sundby, and Siri Vangen. 2005. “Maternal Mortality in the Rural Gambia, a Qualitative Study on Access to Emergency Obstetric Care.” Reproductive Health 2 (3): online. doi:10.1186/1742-4755-2-3.

Authors: Mamady Cham, Johanne Sundby, Siri Vangen


Background: Maternal mortality is the vital indicator with the greatest disparity between developed and developing countries. The challenging nature of measuring maternal mortality has made it necessary to perform an action-oriented means of gathering information on where, how and why deaths are occurring; what kinds of action are needed and have been taken. A maternal death review is an in-depth investigation of the causes and circumstances surrounding maternal deaths. The objectives of the present study were to describe the socio-cultural and health service factors associated with maternal deaths in rural Gambia.

Methods: We reviewed the cases of 42 maternal deaths of women who actually tried to reach or have reached health care services. A verbal autopsy technique was applied for 32 of the cases. Key people who had witnessed any stage during the process leading to death were interviewed. Health care staff who participated in the provision of care to the deceased was also interviewed. All interviews were tape recorded and analyzed by using a grounded theory approach. The standard WHO definition of maternal deaths was used.

Results: The length of time in delay within each phase of the model was estimated from the moment the woman, her family or health care providers realized that there was a complication until the decision to seeking or implementing care was made. The following items evolved as important: underestimation of the severity of the complication, bad experience with the health care system, delay in reaching an appropriate medical facility, lack of transportation, prolonged transportation, seeking care at more than one medical facility and delay in receiving prompt and appropriate care after reaching the hospital.

Conclusion: Women do seek access to care for obstetric emergencies, but because of a variety of problems encountered, appropriate care is often delayed. Disorganized health care with lack of prompt response to emergencies is a major factor contributing to a continued high mortality rate.

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Gambia

Year: 2005

Converting the Wetlands, Engendering the Environment: The Intersection of Gender with Agrarian Change in the Gambia


Carney, Judith. 1993. "Converting the Wetlands, Engendering the Environment: The Intersection of Gender with Agrarian Change in the Gambia." Economic Geography 69 (4): 329-48.

Author: Judith Carney


An examination is presented of the gender-based resource struggles accompanying irrigation schemes, with the environmental transformation of the wetlands of Gambia providing the setting. Divided into five parts the chapter examines: the environmental context of the Gambian wetlands, the extent and significance of wetland farming, as well as women's labour in ensuring its productive use; an historical overview is provided of environmental and economic changes modifying women's access to Gambian wetlands; an account of recent policy shifts addresses the country's environmental and economic crisis; two case studies are presented which detail the relationship between economic change and the forms of women's resistance to the process of land concentration; the conclusion analyses how wetland commodification has made women's access to resources increasingly tenuous despite income gains.

Topics: Economies, Environment, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Gambia

Year: 1993

Re-Thinking Gender Mainstreaming in African NGOs and Communities


Wendoh, Senorina, and Tina Wallace. 2005. “Re-Thinking Gender Mainstreaming in African NGOs and Communities.” Gender & Development 13 (2): 70–9.

Authors: Senorina Wendoh, Tina Wallace


This article examines research on gender mainstreaming initiatives, undertaken by a sample of local NGOs in four African countries. This research explores where resistance to gender equality comes from in some African organisations and communities. It shows that for gender mainstreaming processes to be effective they need to address the complex realities of people, and be sensitive to the values of communities in their implementation. The more successful gender mainstreaming initiatives have worked with local people's beliefs and realities, and allowed sufficient time for attitudinal change in both local people and NGO staff.

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, NGOs Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Gambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia

Year: 2005

"Re-claiming" Land in The Gambia: Gendered Property Rights and Environmental Intervention


Schroeder, Richard A. 1997. “‘Re-claiming’ Land in The Gambia: Gendered Property Rights and Environmental Intervention." Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87 (3): 487-508.

Author: Richard A. Schroeder


By definition, land reclamation programs render marginally productive land resources more valuable to a broader set of users. The question of who gets access to rejuvenated lands is often highly political, however. Environmental managers “reclaim” land resources by rehabilitating them, but they simultaneously reanimate struggles over property rights in the process, allowing specific groups of resource users to literally and figuratively “re-claim” the land. Relying on data gathered during fourteen months of field work between 1989 and 1995, this paper analyzes the openings created by environmental policy reforms introduced over the past two decades along The Gambia River Basin, and the tactics and strategies rural Gambians have developed to manipulate these policies for personal gain. Specifically, I demonstrate how women market gardeners pressed “secondary” usufruct rights to great advantage to ease the economic impact of persistent drought conditions for the better part of a decade, only to have male lineage heads and community leaders “re-claim” the resources in question through donor-generated agroforestry and soil and water management projects. This is thus a study of the responses different community groups have made to a shifting international development agenda centered on environmental goals. It is simultaneously an analysis of those environmental policies and practices and their impact on gendered patterns of resource access and control within a set of critical rural livelihood systems.

Keywords: land reclamation, Gender, agroforestry, resource tenure, political ecology, environmental interverntion

Topics: Environment, Gender, Women, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Gambia

Year: 1997

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