The Gender Asset Gap: Land in Latin America


Deere, Carmen Diana, and Magdalena Leon. 2003. “The Gender Asset Gap: Land in Latin America.” World Development 31 (6): 925–47. doi: 10.1016/S0305-750X(03)00046-9.

Authors: Carmen Diana Deere, Magdalena Leon


The gender asset gap in Latin America with respect to ownership of land is significant. In few countries do women constitute even one-quarter of the landowners. Gender inequality in land ownership is related to male preference in inheritance, male privilege in marriage, male bias in community and state programs of land distribution as well as gender bias in the land market, with women less likely than men to be successful buyers. But there are also important differences by gender in how land is acquired. Inheritance is the primary means by which most women become landowners; men are much more likely than women to acquire land through its distribution by communities or the state and via the market. Factors contributing toward a trend toward greater gender equity in land inheritance and in recent state programs are highlighted.

Keywords: Property Rights, gender, land tenure, inequality, inheritance, Latin America

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equity, Land Tenure, Households, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Americas

Year: 2003

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