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West Africa

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

Year: 1999

Property Rights and the Gender Distribution of Wealth in Ecuador, Ghana and India

Citation:

Deere, Carmen Diana, Abena D. Oduro, Hema Swaminathan, and Cheryl Doss. 2013. “Property Rights and the Gender Distribution of Wealth in Ecuador, Ghana and India.” Journal of Economic Inequality 11 (2): 249–65.

Authors: Cheryl Doss, Carmen Diana Deere, Abena D. Oduro, Hema Swaminathan

Abstract:

Women’s ability to accumulate wealth is often attributed to whether they have property rights; i.e., a legal personality to own and manage property. In this paper we argue that basic property rights are insufficient; whether women are able to accumulate wealth also depends upon the marital and inheritance regimes in particular contexts. Drawing upon surveys which collected individual level ownership data in Ecuador, Ghana and the state of Karnataka in India, we estimate married women’s share of couple wealth and relate it to how assets are owned within marriage as well as to different inheritance regimes and practices. In Ecuador, married women own 44 %, in Ghana, 19 %, and in Karnataka, 9 % of couple wealth. Ecuador is characterized by the partial community property regime in marriage while inheritance laws provide for all children, irrespective of sex, to be treated equally, norms that are largely followed in practice. In contrast, Ghana and India are characterized by the separation of property regime which does not recognize wives’ contribution to the formation of marital property, and by inheritance practices that are strongly male biased. Reforming marital and inheritance regimes must remain a top priority if gender economic equality is to be attained.

Keywords: inheritance regimes, marital regimes, women's property rights, asset ownership, wealth in developing countries

Topics: Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Ecuador, Ghana, India

Year: 2013

Revisiting the World Bank’s Land Law Reform Agenda in Africa: The Promise and Perils of Customary Practices

Citation:

Collins, Andrea, and Matthew I. Mitchell. 2018. “Revisiting the World Bank’s Land Law Reform Agenda in Africa: The Promise and Perils of Customary Practices.” Journal of Agrarian Change 18 (1): 112–31.

Authors: Andrea Collins, Matthew I. Mitchell

Abstract:

This paper revisits the World Bank's land law reform agenda in Africa by focusing on two central issues: (1) land law reform as a tool for resolving land conflicts, and (2) the role of land law reform in addressing gender inequalities. While the Bank's recent land report provides insights for improving land governance in Africa, it fails to acknowledge the exploitative and contentious politics that often characterize customary land tenure systems, and the local power dynamics that undermine the ability of marginalized groups to secure land rights. Using insights from recent fieldwork, the paper analyses the links between land law reform and conflict in Ghana, and the gendered dynamics of reforming land governance in Tanzania. These “crucial cases” illustrate how land law reform can provoke conflicts over land and threaten the rights of vulnerable populations (e.g. migrants and women) when customary practices are uncritically endorsed as a means of improving land governance. As such, the paper concludes with a series of recommendations on how to navigate the promise and perils of customary practices in the governance of land.

Keywords: africa, customary practices, Ghana, land law reform, tanzania, World Bank

Topics: Conflict Prevention, Displacement & Migration, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, conflict, Governance, International Financial Institutions, International Organizations, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Tanzania

Year: 2018

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

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

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

Decoupling Local Ownership? The Lost Opportunities for Grassroots Women's Involvement in Liberian Peacebuilding

Citation:

Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene and Jonathan Joseph. 2016. “Decoupling Local Ownership? The Lost Opportunities for Grassroots Women's Involvement in Liberian Peacebuilding.” Cooperation and Conflict 51 (4): 539-56.

Authors: Theodora-Ismene Gizelis, Jonathon Joseph

Abstract:

Civil society organizations and grassroots groups are often unable to play an active role in postconflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. A possible explanation for the observed challenges in peacebuilding is the gap or decoupling between international expectations and norms from practical action, local norms and capacities. External actors are often overly instrumental and operate according to a general template that fails to start from what the local capacities might actually be. This often leads to the decoupling of general values from practical action, which helps account for the observed barriers of engaging local civil and community organizations in reconstruction. We examine the different types of decoupling and the challenges these present. We evaluate our general theoretical argument using evidence based on the experiences of Liberian women’s civil society organizations. Given the compliance of the Liberian government with international norms, we should expect external actors to have an easier task in incorporating civil society and women’s organizations in the post-conflict reconstruction process; yet, the record appears to be the opposite. While we present the ‘tragic’ aspect of this relationship between international norms and local practice, we also suggest opportunities for ‘hybrid’ alternatives.

Keywords: gender, Liberia, peacebuilding, post-conflict society

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, conflict, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2016

Pathways Out of Poverty: Women - 'the forgotten Gender' - and the Artisanal Fisheries Sector of Sierra Leone

Citation:

Baio, Andrew, Roberta Curiazi, Ndomahina Lebbie, Thomas Lebbie, Ranita Sandi, Andy Thorpe, and David Whitmarsh. 2013. “Pathways Out of Poverty: Women - the ‘forgotten Gender’ - and the Artisanal Fisheries Sector of Sierra Leone.” African Historical Review 45 (1): 46–61.

Authors: Andrew Baio, Roberta Curiazi, Ndomahina Lebbie, Thomas Lebbie, Ranita Sandi, Andy Thorpe, David Whitmarsh

Abstract:

In a number of low-income countries the fisheries sector has been shown to be instrumental in meeting key development goals, specifically in combating malnutrition, but the crucial contribution of women within this sector has been largely overlooked. This is particularly true in Sierra Leone, despite gender featuring prominently in the country’s poverty reduction strategy. This article therefore examines the history of female involvement in the sector, how this involvement was transformed by the civil war, and assesses whether the various current initiatives to support women in the post-harvest sector offer a realistic ‘pathway out of poverty’.

Keywords: fish distribution chain, food security, women, poverty alleviation, Sierra Leone

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2013

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