Land Rights and Gender Relations in Areas of Rural Africa : A Question of Power and Discourse


O’Rourke, Nancy. 1995. “Land Rights and Gender Relations in Areas of Rural Africa : A Question of Power and Discourse.” Social & Legal Studies 4 (1): 75–97. 

Author: Nancy O’Rourke


Throughout rural Africa women perform the majority of agricultural activities which, for the most part, includes total responsibility for smallholder farming and, in addition, assisting men with the production of cash and export crops. Despite women’s significant and strenuous contribution, it is evident that the global economic system, in terms of its structures and processes, does not value their work accordingly. This lack of recognition is particularly evident in terms of their rights to land and productive resources. Similarly, very few women have managed to gain a commensurate level of control over the profits and consequences of their agricultural labour, a factor which again relates to their inability to own or manage the land they work. Whether for family subsistence needs or the reproductive and productive demands of international markets, women’s agricultural labour is greatly depended upon. Nevertheless, as revealed through the discourse of ’law’ (statutory and codified customary) as well as the discourse of ‘tradition’, women’s rights to land are continuously in a state of flux and are, in most cases, seriously undermined 

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 1995

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