Gender, Land Tenure and Agrarian Production Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa


Tsikata, Dzodzi. 2016. “Gender, Land Tenure and Agrarian Production Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy 5 (1): 1–19.

Author: Dzodzi Tsikata


This article examines in historical perspective how gendered land tenure systems have contributed to shaping, and have in turn been shaped by, agrarian production and reproduction systems and how this has worked to the disadvantage of women in terms of their livelihood choices and outcomes and their position in agrarian societies. It is argued that contemporary challenges to the health of Africa’s agrarian production systems have gender implications which are not sufficiently recognized, either in the literature or in policymaking. This stems from the fact that the complexities of women’s positions and contributions to agrarian production and reproduction, since before the colonial period, are often not recognized and, therefore, their influence on longterm processes, such as capital accumulation and proletarianization of rural life, are not accounted for. The article provides a framing of the linkages between gendered land tenure and changing agrarian production and reproduction systems and examines two contemporary land tenure issues which illustrate the impacts of gender biases in land and agrarian policies.

Keywords: gender relations, land tenure, agrarian production systems, reproduction, policies, Africa


Topics: Agriculture, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Year: 2016

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