Zimbabwe's 'Fast Track' Land Reform: What about Women?


Goebel, Allison. 2005. “Zimbabwe’s ‘Fast Track’ Land Reform: What about Women?” Gender, Place & Culture 12 (2): 145–72. doi: 10.1080/09663690500094799.

Author: Allison Goebel


The wave of occupations of commercial farms in Zimbabwe starting in the year 2000 captured worldwide attention. By the end of that year, the government of Zimbabwe initiated the ‘fast track’ land reform process meant to formalize the occupations, and encourage further land appropriation and redistribution. Where are women in this process? The Women and Land Lobby Group (WLLG) was formed in 1998 by Zimbabwean women activists committed to the land issue. Since 1998 they have lobbied government to include women’s interests in the design of land reform, and have made some inroads in improving women’s formal rights to land as stated in policy documents. However, the current ‘fast track’ practices continue to privilege men as primary recipients of resettlement land, and the emerging role of traditional authorities in the land reform process marginalizes women. Other legal provisions that may help women struggle for changes remain weak. The contradiction between customary law, practices and attitudes and modern individual rights represents a complex battleground for women and land in Southern Africa, and calls for new feminist conceptualizations of the state as a vehicle for gender justice.

Topics: Civil Society, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, International Organizations, Justice, Land Grabbing, NGOs, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2005

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