Gender Inequality and Land Rights: The Situation of Indigenous Women in Cameroon

Citation:

Njieassam, Esther Effundem. 2019. “Gender Inequality and Land Rights: The Situation of Indigenous Women in Cameroon”. PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad 22 (1): 1–33.

Author: Esther Effundem Njieassam

Abstract:

Land is an essential resource that serves as a means of subsistence for millions of people in the world and indigenous communities and women in particular. Most indigenous societies' survival is closely tied to land. In Cameroon, indigenous women are the backbone of food production in their communities. That makes access to land important, as it is a significant source of wealth and power for indigenous peoples in general and indigenous women in particular. While women all over the world encounter gender-based discrimination in relation to the control and ownership of land, indigenous women face triple discrimination on the basis of their gender (as women), their ethnicity (as indigenous peoples) and their economic class (economically poor). They are often dehumanised, degraded and subjected to treatment as second-class human beings despite the existence of national legislation that discourages such practices. This paper interrogates the possibility of including indigenous women in government and decision-making processes in Cameroon in the hope that they may be involved in key decision-making processes that affect them, thereby reducing their economic and social vulnerability. It concludes with some thoughtful recommendations on policy reform aimed at ensuring access to land for indigenous women as well as socio-economic justice in its broadest sense. 

Keywords: indigenous women, gendered-based discrimination, land rights, gender inequality, decision-making, participation, Cameroon

Topics: Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Indigenous, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

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