The Impact of Privatization on Gender and Property Rights in Africa


Lastarria-Cornhiel, Susana. 1997. “The Impact of Privatization on Gender and Property Rights in Africa.” World Development 25 (8): 1317-33.

Author: Susana Lastarria-Cornhiel


This paper explores the transformation of customary tenure systems and their impact on women's rights to land in Africa. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of land rights within customary tenure systems, the different institutions and structures (e.g., inheritance, marriage) that influence rights to land, and the trend toward uniformity and increasing patrilineal control. With privatization, different rights to land have become concentrated in the hands of those persons (such as community leaders, male household heads) who are able to successfully claim their ownership right to land, while other persons (such as poor rural women, ethnic minorities) lose the few rights they had and generally are not able to participate fully in the land market. 

Keywords: privatization, women's land rights, ownership to land, gender, customary law

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 1997

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