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Africa

Empowering Women Through Land Tenure Reform: The Rwanda Experience

Citation:

Ngoga, Thierry Hoza. 2012."Empowering Women Through Land Tenure Reform: The Rwanda Experience." Paper presented at the Expert Group Meeting Good Practices in Realizing Women's Rights to Productive Resources, With a Focus on Land, Geneva, Switzerland, June 25-27.

Author: Thierry Hoza Ngoga

Abstract:

Since 2004, Rwanda has embarked on an ambitious land tenure reform programme (LTR) aimed at increasing security of tenure to all land owners and the elimination of all forms of discrimination. This has largely been achieved through the establishment and implementation of a new legal, regulatory and institutional framework.
 
This paper discusses the ongoing land tenure reform programme and its impact on women’s land rights. It focuses on the role of women in the decision making in the course of developing the legal and regulatory framework, the rights that those tools provide to women and the inclusiveness and protection of women’s land rights in the ongoing land registration programme. The aim of the paper is then to draw on some best practices gleaned from the programme in protecting women’s rights to land.

Topics: Gender, Women, Peace and Security, Justice, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2012

Controlling Land They Call Their Own: Access and Women's Empowerment in Northern Tanzania

Citation:

Goldman, Mara J., Alicia Davis, and Jani Little. 2016. “Controlling Land They Call Their Own: Access and Women's Empowerment in Northern Tanzania.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 43 (4): 777-97.

Authors: Mara J. Goldman, Alicia Davis, Jani Little

Abstract:

Formal rights to land are often promoted as an essential part of empowering women, particularly in the Global South. We look at two grassroots non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on land rights and empowerment with Maasai communities in Northern Tanzania. Women involved with both NGOS attest to the power of land ownership for personal empowerment and transformations in gender relations. Yet very few have obtained land ownership titles. Drawing from Ribot and Peluso's theory of access, we argue that more than ownership rights to land, access – to land, knowledge, social relations and political processes – is leading to empowerment for these women, as well as helping to keep land within communities. We illustrate how the following are key to both empowerment processes and protecting community and women's land: (1) access to knowledge about legal rights, such as the right to own land; (2) access to customary forms of authority; and (3) access to a joint social identity – as women, as ‘indigenous people’ and as ‘Maasai'. Through this shared identity and access to knowledge and authority, women are strengthening their access to social relations (amongst themselves, with powerful political players and NGOs), and gaining strength through collective action to protect land rights.

Keywords: Property Rights, maasai, land, gender, women, tanzania, empowerment, access

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, NGOs, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2016

Gender Dimensions of (Non)Violence in Communal Conflict: The Case of Jos, Nigeria

Citation:

Krause, Jana. 2019. "Gender Dimensions of (Non)Violence in Communal Conflict: The Case of Jos, Nigeria." Comparative Political Studies: 1-34.

Author: Jana Krause

Abstract:

Peacebuilding is more likely to succeed in countries with higher levels of gender equality, but few studies have examined the link between subnational gender relations and local peace and, more generally, peacebuilding after communal conflict. This article addresses this gap. I examine gender relations and (non)violence in ethno-religious conflict in the city of Jos in central Nigeria. Jos and its rural surroundings have repeatedly suffered communal clashes that have killed thousands, sometimes within only days. Drawing on qualitative data collected during fieldwork, I analyze the gender dimensions of violence, nonviolence, and postviolence prevention. I argue that civilian agency is gendered. Gender relations and distinct notions of masculinity can facilitate or constrain people’s mobilization for fighting. Hence, a nuanced understanding of the gender dimensions of (non)violence has important implications for conflict prevention and local peacebuilding.

Keywords: communal violence, gender relations, nonviolence, peacebuilding, masculinities

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Ethnicity, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Conflict, Nonviolence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Religion, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

Gender and (Militarized) Secessionist Movements in Africa: An African Feminist’s Reflections

Citation:

Mougoué, Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta. 2018. "Gender and (Militarized) Secessionist Movements in Africa: An African Feminist's Reflections." Meridians 17 (2): 338-58.

Author: Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué

Abstract:

Utilizing interdisciplinary and multimethodological approaches, this essay explores women’s roles in buttressing the political cohesion of secessionist movements in postcolonial Africa. It argues that African women have supported the actions of male-dominated secessionist movements in order to garner their own social and political power. Using case studies from Anglophone Cameroon, Western Sahara, Cabinda Province (Angola), and Biafra (Nigeria), the essay historicizes and outlines a new analytical framework that explores women’s multifaceted participation in secessionist movements in modern-day Africa.

Keywords: gender, secessionism, Cameroon, Cabinda, Western Sahara, Biafra

Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, West Africa Countries: Angola, Cameroon, Nigeria, Western Sahara

Year: 2018

Contemporarity: Sufficiency in a Radical African Feminist Life

Citation:

McFadden, Patricia. 2018. "Contemporarity: Sufficiency in a Radical African Feminist Life." Meridians 17 (2): 415-31.

Author: Patricia McFadden

Abstract:

This essay theorizes contemporarity as a new framework for Black feminist resistances—personal and sociopolitical—and explores reimagined lived realities as a crucial site for the generation of new feminist epistemologies and alternative ways of living. Given the failures of neocolonial and neoliberal state regimes across the African continent and the globe to respond equitably to the imperatives of human emancipation, the paper argues for a return to and closer interrogation of personal politics and feminist relationships to the self and the ecosystems that nurture both. The challenge is to find new sources of creative imaginaries and resistance that will lead to the unfolding of discourses, practices, and ways of living that offer an alternative to neoliberal capitalism. From the experience of sustaining oneself through ecological balance, a respectful interaction with nature, and nonmarket practices of sufficiency, the paper proposes to glean the knowledge and inherent integrity embedded in such processes to create new radical social knowledge and practices.

Keywords: contemporarity, alternatives, sufficiency, nature, vegan

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gender Mainstreaming, Race Regions: Africa

Year: 2018

Contested Encounters: Toward a Twenty-First-Century African Feminist Ethnography

Citation:

Makana, Selina. 2018. "Contested Encounters: Toward a Twenty-First-Century African Feminist Ethnography." Meridians 17 (2): 361-75.

Author: Selina Makana

Abstract:

This essay reflects upon both the predicaments and the promises of feminist ethnography in contemporary Africa from the position of an African feminist researcher. Two key questions guide the analysis: What are productive ways to respond to feminist critiques of representing the African woman “other”? What are the promises, if any, of African feminist ethnography documenting the histories of women on the continent? This essay argues that African feminist ethnography is a productive methodology that helps to highlight knowledge production about women’s lives in their specific sociopolitical, ethnolinguistic, religious, and economic contexts. To highlight the significance and limits of reflexivity and the idiosyncrasies of ethnographic research, this essay calls for a different way of naming the encounters between researchers and their participants. It therefore proposes naming this energy the ebb and flow of fieldwork research because this metaphor helps to destabilize and move beyond the rigid binaries of insider/outsider that have traditionally characterized power relations in fieldwork.

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Intersectionality, Race, Religion Regions: Africa

Year: 2018

Saving Nigerian Girls: A Critical Reflection on Girl-Saving Campaigns in the Colonial and Neoliberal Eras

Citation:

George, Abosede. 2018. "Saving Nigerian Girls: A Critical Reflection on Girl-Saving Campaigns in the Colonial and Neoliberal Eras." Meridians 17 (2): 309-24.

Author: Abosede George

Abstract:

This essay discusses girl-saving campaigns in Nigerian history, focusing on the two that have been most extensively documented: the girl hawker project of the early twentieth century, which climaxed with the 1943 passage of the first hawking ban in Nigeria, and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which started in 2014 and is still ongoing. Though separated by time and space, in order to inspire salvationist impulses in their respective audiences both campaigns have relied on a gendered notion of imperilment that centers the image of the youthful female body threatened by sexual violence from male aggressors. Yet through its reliance on certain restrictions, gendered and otherwise, the portrait of the vulnerable girl that campaigners outline inadvertently prompts disidentifications as well.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Girls, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2018

Finding Women in the Zimbabwean Transition

Citation:

Dendere, Chipo. 2018. "Finding Women in the Zimbabwean Transition." Meridians 17 (2): 376-81.

Author: Chipo Dendere

Abstract:

This essay is a feminist response to the 2017 coup in Zimbabwe that brought to an end Robert Mugabe’s thirty-seven-year on power. Mugabe came into power in 1980 after his party, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU PF), successfully negotiated for an end to the civil war. The male-dominated ZANU PF has stayed in power because they consolidated power around Mugabe’s leadership. However, as the aging Mugabe became frail and his fifty-two-year-old energetic wife found her political voice, ZANU PF became deeply fractured and was facing electoral defeat in the 2018 elections. Grace Mugabe’s rise to power became the rallying point for ZANU PF to evict their longtime leader. Her fall from power has been used to restrict the voices of women even in this new era of political openness.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Feminisms, Gender, Conflict, Governance, Elections, Post-conflict Governance Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2018

African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century

Citation:

Decker, Alicia C. and Gabeba Baderoon. 2018. "African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century." Meridians 17 (2): 219-31.

Authors: Alicia C. Decker, Gabeba Baderoon

Annotation:

Summary:
"In the thirty years since this essay was originally published (i.e., 1987), scholarship on African feminisms has grown tremendously and is now being taught at universities across the world. In African countries such
as Uganda, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, and Morocco, women’s and gender studies courses, as well as departments and even schools, have become relatively commonplace. Both guest editors are products of this momentum, having earned graduate degrees from African universities that specialize in African feminist thought. Both of us now teach in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, and we are both deeply committed to the intellectual and activist work that Steady first described. As codirectors of the African Feminist Initiative, or AFI, we seek to promote the study of African feminist thought, as well as the history of African feminist activism, within the U.S. academy. In addition, we also strive to create equitable partnerships between scholars and practitioners of African feminism based in North America and Europe and those based on the African continent. This special issue of Meridians represents one such partnership" (Decker and Baderoon 2018, 220). 

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Intersectionality, Race Regions: Africa

Year: 2018

The Unrealised Potential for Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Sierra Leone

Citation:

Williams, Sarah, and Jasmine Opdam. 2017. “The Unrealised Potential for Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Sierra Leone.” The International Journal of Human Rights 21 (9): 1281–301.

Authors: Sarah Williams, Jasmine Opdam

Abstract:

The conflict in Sierra Leone was known for the scope and severity of atrocities targeted at civilians, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) mainly perpetrated against women and girls. Post-conflict initiatives included the establishment of a hybrid criminal tribunal, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC). However, neither possessed a mandate for reparations to victims, yet both have made some contribution to tranformation. The judgments and processes of the SCSL have provided a measure of recognition to victims of SGBV. The TRC was required to to pay special attention to the experiences of women and girls in respect of sexual violence and structural inequality. It also interpreted its mandate broadly, in particular to making general recommendations as to the position of women and girls, as well as more specific recommendations as to reparations projects. These recommendations addressed three aspects of gender justice based on Fraser (recognition, representation and redistribution) and offered considerable scope for transformative reparations for victims of SGBV, including through structural, legal and social changes intended to guarantee the non-repetition of sexual violence. However, this article argues that although several of the TRC’s recommendations had transformative potential, much of this potential has not been realised due to the failure of the government to implement those recommendations.

Keywords: Sierra Leone, reparations, truth commission, sexual and gender-based violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Justice, Reparations, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2017

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