'The Family Farms Together, the Decisions, However Are Made by the Man' — Matrilineal Land Tenure Systems, Welfare and Decision Making in Rural Malawi

Citation:

Djurfeldt, Agnes Andersson, Ellen Hillbom, Wapulumuka O. Mulwafu, Peter Mvula, and Göran Djurfeldt. 2018. “‘The Family Farms Together, the Decisions, However Are Made by the Man’ — Matrilineal Land Tenure Systems, Welfare and Decision Making in Rural Malawi.” Land Use Policy 70: 601–10.

Authors: Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt, Ellen Hillbom, Wapulumuka O. Mulwafu, Peter Mvula, Göran Djurfeldt

Abstract:

Improved female control over land is often put forth as a means of raising the productivity of smallholder agriculture, enhancing female bargaining power and raising women’s incomes. The article uses some quantitative but primarily qualitative data on access to income and decision making, to analyse gender patterns related to welfare, incomes and control over resources in a context where women’s rights to land are particularly strong, that is in a matrilineal and uxorilocal setting. Women’s land rights are contextualized in relation to labour intensive, low productive smallholder systems and the paper assesses to what extent female control over land affects welfare outcomes, decision making and intra-household control over incomes and labour. While we find that female control over land does affect intra household relations it is clear that land reform is not enough to ensure gender equality. For any land use policy reform to have a profound affect it would have to also take into account control over other productive resources, e.g. labour, as well as the wider institutional and political context.

Keywords: land tenure, gender, agriculture, smallholders, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2018

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