‘Without Land We Are Nothing’: The Effect of Land Tenure Policies and Practices upon Rural Women in Kenya


Davison, Jean. 1987. “‘Without Land We Are Nothing’: The Effect of Land Tenure Policies and Practices upon Rural Women in Kenya.” Rural Africana 27: 19–33.

Author: Jean Davison


In Kenya, women are the demographic majority in rural areas, produce more than 80 percent of the food crops, contribute substantially to the production of cash crops, but own only 5 percent of the land nationwide. This paper examines pre-colonial attitudes toward land and its use in two rural locations - Mutira in Central Province and Chwele in Western Province - and traces significant land tenure policies in the colonial period that proved detrimental to women's former usufruct rights as cultivators. It describes the relationship between a woman's marital status and her access to land as one of dependency and argues that unless present practices and policies are changed to encourage women to own land while at the same time restructuring agricultural priorities, rural women's economic position will remain one of dependency. The focus of the analysis is on smallholder 'households', which form the majority of Kenyan peasantry and make up 70 percent of the total population. (AfricaBib)

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Agriculture, Economies, Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Households, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 1987

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