Women and Land Rights in the Latin American Neo-Liberal Counter-Reforms


Deere, Carmen Diana, and Magdalena Leon. 1997. “Women and Land Rights in the Latin American Neo-Liberal Counter-Reforms.” Working Paper #264, Michigan State University, Lansing.

Authors: Carmen Diana Deere, Magdalena Leon


Rural women did not fare very well in the land reforms carried out during the Latin American "reformist period" of the 1960s and 1970s, with women being under-represented among the beneficiaries. This paper investigates the extent to which women have gained or lost access to land during the "counter-reforms" of the 1980s and 1990s.  Under the neo-liberal agenda, production cooperatives as well as communal access to land have largely been undermined in favor of privatization and the individual parcelization of collectives. Significant land titling efforts are also being carried out throughout the region to promote the development of a vigorous land market.

Nonetheless, this latter period has also been characterized by the growth of the feminist movement throughout Latin America and a growing commitment by states to gender equity. This paper reviews the extent to which rural women's access to land has potentially been enhanced by recent changes in agrarian and legal codes. Colombia and Costa Rica are found to be the leaders in gender-equitable legislation.  The Mexican neo-liberal counter-reform is found to be the retrograde in the region. The case studies include Chile, Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Colombia. 

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru

Year: 1997

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