Women’s Land Rights and Rural Social Movements in the Brazilian Agrarian Reform


Deere, Carmen Diana. 2003. “Women’s Land Rights and Rural Social Movements in the Brazilian Agrarian Reform.” Journal of Agrarian Change 3 (1-2): 257-88.

Author: Carmen Diana Deere


This article examines the evolution of the demand for women's land rights in the Brazilian agrarian reform through the prism of the three main rural social movements: the landless movement, the rural unions and the autonomous rural women's movement. Most of the credit for raising the issue of women's land rights rests with women within the rural unions. That women's formal land rights were attained in the constitutional reform of 1988 was largely a by–product of the effort to end discrimination against women in all its dimensions. The achievement of formal equality in land rights, nonetheless, did not lead to increases in the share of female beneficiaries of the reform, which remained low in the mid–1990s. This was largely because securing women's land rights in practice was not a top priority of any of the rural social movements. Moreover, the main social movement determining the pace of the agrarian reform, the landless movement, considered class and gender issues to be incompatible. By the late 1990s, nonetheless, there was growing awareness that failure to recognize women's land rights was prejudicial to the development and consolidation of the agrarian reform settlements and thus the movement. The growing consensus among all the rural social movements of the importance of securing women's land rights, coupled with effective lobbying, encouraged the State in 2001 to adopt specific mechanisms for the inclusion of women in the agrarian reform.

Keywords: social movements, women's land rights, agrarian reform, Brazil

Topics: Gender, Women, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil

Year: 2003

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.