A Woman's Field is Made at Night: Gendered Land Rights and Norms in Burkina Faso

Citation:

Kevane, Michael, and Leslie C. Gray. 1999. “A Woman's Field is Made at Night: Gendered Land Rights and Norms in Burkina Faso.” Feminist Economics 5 (3): 1-26.

Authors: Michael Kevane, Leslie C. Gray

Abstract:

Gendered social norms and institutions are important determinants of agricultural activities in southwestern Burkina Faso. This paper argues that gendered land tenure, in particular, has effects on equity and efficiency. The usual view of women as holders of secondary, or indirect, rights to land must be supplemented by a more nuanced understanding of tenure. Women's rights are in fact considerably more complex than the simple right to fields from their husbands. First, women's rights to property obtained from men may be coupled with other rights and obligations. In many ethnic groups, women have share rights to the harvest of their husbands. Second, despite land scarcity and rises in land value certain types of rights are strengthening. Specifically, women are more and more able to obtain land through the market. Finally, government intervention in the gendering of tenure seems to have eroded women's individual rights to land even when government projects explicitly try to incorporate women as "partners" in land-use programs.

Keywords: land, africa, gender, women, Burkina Faso

Topics: Agriculture, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Burkina Faso

Year: 1999

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