Land Tenure Insecurity and Formalizing Land Rights in Madagascar: A Gender Perspective on the Certification Program


Widman, Marit. 2014. “Land Tenure Insecurity and Formalizing Land Rights in Madagascar: A Gender Perspective on the Certification Program.” Feminist Economics 20 (1): 130–54. 

Author: Marit Widman


This contribution examines Madagascar’s land tenure reform – aimed at reducing land tenure insecurity – from a gender perspective. In particular, it investigates the certification program issuing formal land title deeds (land certificates) to landholders. Drawing on a household survey with gender-disaggregated asset data conducted in the rural municipality Soavinandriana, the analysis suggests that the certification program has strengthened both men’s and women’s formal claims to individually held land. However, the lack of gender equality principles and, in particular, of mechanisms to ensure that couples’ jointly held land is jointly secured, seems to have reinforced primary ownership of land by male household heads, at the expense of women’s land rights. Furthermore, the land tenure reform does not address some of the most important threats to tenure security such as colonial titles and commercial pressure on land, and large parts of the country are still not covered by the certification program.

Keywords: gender inequality, institutions, land, intrahousehold allocation, survey research, rural economic development

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Governance, Land Grabbing, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Madagascar

Year: 2014

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