Does the Matrilineality Make a Difference? Land, Kinship and Women’s Empowerment in Bobonaro District, Timor-Leste

Citation:

Narciso, Vanda Jesus Santos, and Pedro Damião Sousa Henriques. 2020. “Does the Matrilineality Make a Difference? Land, Kinship and Women’s Empowerment in Bobonaro District, Timor-Leste.” Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy 25 (2): 348–70.

Authors: Vanda Jesus Santos Narciso, Pedro Damião Sousa Henriques

Abstract:

This article investigates the roles that land rights and kinship norms have on rural women’s empowerment in the Bobonaro district of Timor-Leste. To this aim, a case study was carried out, using a questionnaire survey to compare three kinship groups (harmonic matrilineal, matrilineal and patrilineal). The land rights considered are ownership and control. The measurement of empowerment is based on three questions relating to household decision-making. Women’s autonomy and participation in decisions are also analyzed. The data presented show the importance of not only the ownership of land, but also effective and independent women’s land rights and the kinship system to women’s empowerment. Therefore, in order to contribute to gender equality, land policies should take gender and kinship into close consideration. 

Keywords: women, land, kinship, empowerment, Timor-Leste

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Oceania Countries: Timor-Leste

Year: 2020

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