Livelihoods, Security and Needs: Gender Relations and Land Reform in South Africa


Jacobs, Susie. 2004. "Livelihoods, Security and Needs: Gender Relations and Land Reform in South Africa." Journal of International Women's Studies, 6 (1): 1-19.

Author: Susie Jacobs


This article focuses on the land reform programme in South Africa as well as on broader questions of rural women’s needs. It draws on interviews with 47 key informants, drawn particularly from the NGO sector, carried out in 2002 and 2003. It examines the importance of ‘land’ compared with wider issues such as personal and bodily security. Despite some encouraging state initiatives, most informants felt that poorer rural women remained marginalized within the land reform programme and more generally. Needs for independent income, health, and personal security were emphasised, with secure access to land seen as potentially beneficial although not as strong a priority. However, this should not be ‘read’ as an argument for ignoring the benefits of land rights for women: a rural women’s movement is needed to carry this forward demands both for economic rights and those linked to bodily integrity. 

Keywords: land reform, South Africa, women's needs/interests

Topics: Health, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa

Year: 2004

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