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Gender Analysis

Securing Meaningful Life: Women’s Work and Land Rights in Rural Myanmar


Faxon, Hilary. 2020. “Securing Meaningful Life: Women’s Work and Land Rights in Rural Myanmar.” Journal of Rural Studies 76: 76–84. 

Author: Hilary Faxon


"It is in this context that I draw on data from a participatory photography project and a household survey to examine rural women's own accounts of daily life on the land, as well as evidence that they are excluded from new land reforms. I show how women's work sustains their families and communities and argue that the women's exclusion from land governance is especially problematic in an era in which their labor produces an increasing share of land's value. I build on scholarship of agrarian change to argue for a feminist approach to theorizing land rights that starts from social reproduction and asserts that the normative aim of land reform should be to secure meaningful life. Such an approach transcends a focus on statutory or customary rights or even broader notions of access, centering the ability to reproduce oneself and one's family through cultivation, care, and community engagement. I demonstrate that studying these processes benefits from epistemic flexibility and mixed methods inquiry capable of interrogating both gendered land tenure and everyday practices of land use in ethnically and agriculturally diverse communities, and suggest that realizing this project in practice will require changing the aims and assumptions of scholarly and policy debates on land reform."
"This article continues with a conceptual framing before introducing the study's context and methodology. I then turn to the everyday processes of making meaningful life, analyzing rural women's own photographic accounts to highlight the ways in which women's productive and care work sustains families and communities materially and socially. Next, I turn to the question of securing rights, assessing both household survey and photographic data to ask how changing systems of formal land rights are reshaping women's abilities to hold onto land. Finally, I discuss the implications of these findings for understanding land reform and smallholder persistence"(Faxon 2020, 77).

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2020

Women Heading Households: Some More Equal than Others?


Varley, Ann. 1996. “Women Heading Households: Some More Equal than Others?” World Development 24 (3): 505–20.

Author: Ann Varley


This paper explores the validity of the statement that one-third of the world's households are headed by women. It examines the implications of using economic criteria to define household headship and of recent interest in woman-maintained households and concealed woman-headed households. There is a danger of underplaying the diversity of woman-headed households and of marginalizing older women by identifying woman-headed households with single mothers of dependent children. Ultimately, too narrow a focus on particular household types undermines our ability to further a truly gendered analysis of the household in development research and practice.

Topics: Age, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender Roles, Women, Households

Year: 1996

The Convergence of HIV/AIDS and Customary Tenure on Women’s Access to Land in Rural Malawi


Tschirhart, Naomi, Lucky Kabanga, and Sue Nichols. 2015. “The Convergence of HIV/AIDS and Customary Tenure on Women’s Access to Land in Rural Malawi.” SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS 12 (1): 134-46.

Authors: Naomi Tschirhart, Lucky Kabanga, Sue Nichols


This paper examines the convergence of HIV/AIDS and the social processes through which women access customary land in rural Malawi. Data were collected from focus group discussions with women in patrilineal and matrilineal communities. Women’s land tenure is primarily determined through kinship group membership, customary inheritance practices and location of residence. In patrilineal communities, land is inherited through the male lineage and women access land through relationships with male members who are the rightful heirs. Conversely in matrilineal matrilocal communities, women as daughters directly inherit the land. This research found that in patrilineal communities, HIV/AIDS, gendered inequalities embedded in customary inheritance practices and resource shortages combine to affect women’s access to land. HIV/AIDS may cause the termination of a woman’s relationship with the access individual due to stigma or the individual’s death. Termination of such relationships increases tenure insecurity for women accessing land in a community where they do not have inheritance rights. In contrast to the patrilineal patrilocal experience, research on matrilineal matrilocal communities demonstrates that where women are the inheritors of the land and have robust land tenure rights, they are not at risk of losing their access to land due to HIV/AIDS.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, land rights, women, customary, matrilineal, patrilineal

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Health, HIV/AIDS, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2015

Addressing Gender in Agricultural Research for Development in the Face of a Changing Climate: Where Are We and Where Should We Be Going?


Kristjanson, Patricia, Elizabeth Bryan, Quinn Bernier, Jennifer Twyman, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Caitlin Kieran, Claudia Ringler, Christine Jost, and Cheryl Doss. 2017. “Addressing Gender in Agricultural Research for Development in the Face of a Changing Climate: Where Are We and Where Should We Be Going?” International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 15 (5): 482–500.

Authors: Patricia Kristjanson, Elizabeth Bryan, Quinn Bernier, Jennifer Twyman, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Caitlin Kieran, Claudia Ringler, Christine Jost, Cheryl Doss


Agricultural development efforts that do not address persistent gender gaps miss opportunities for greater impact. This synthesis reflects on key findings from integrated quantitative and qualitative analyses at the nexus of gender, agricultural development, and climate change. Linked farm household-, intrahousehold-, community-, and institutional-level data highlight significant and nuanced gender differences in adaptive capacity of individuals and communities to respond to climate change. The gender gap is also substantial in exposure to climate change and its impacts, and uptake of new practices that lower vulnerability. Women in agriculture will remain largely neglected by information and service providers unless their differing needs, access to, and control over resources are considered at policy and project design stage. Yet clear guidelines for addressing the needs of both men and women in different environments and agricultural systems are still lacking. Participatory ‘action research’ approaches with a focus on co-learning, and using innovative cell phone or social media-based approaches offer exciting new opportunities. Agricultural development decision-makers and project designers need to ‘design with gender in mind’. Equipping them with tools and knowledge of innovative gender-transformative practices and intervention options and creating accountability for serving women and men will be key.

Keywords: gender gap, agricultural development, climate change, development, adaptive capacity, resilience, vulnerability

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 2017

Gender-Transformative Climate Change Adaptation: Advancing Social Equity


Resurrección, Bernadette P., Beth A. Bee, Irene Dankelman, Clara Mi Young Park, Mousumi Haldar, and Catherine P. McMullen. 2019. "Gender-Transformative Climate Change Adaptation: Advancing Social Equity." Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) Background Paper, GCA, Rotterdam and Groningen.

Authors: Bernadette P. Resurrección, Beth A. Bee, Irene Dankelman, Clara Mi Young Park, Mousumi Haldar, Catherine P. McMullen


Power and gender inequalities can constrain and undermine climate change adaptation. Those who are vulnerable and marginalized, with limited access to resources and assets, are already facing formidable barriers in adapting to climate change. Ignoring this challenge is maladaptive, as it adds to the vulnerabilities of those already burdened disproportionately and encourages new types of exclusions. Meeting the challenge requires that we transform our societies into fairer and more just organizations. Unfettering the agency of individuals and collective groups, through policies and actions that promote gender-transformative adaptation, can help achieve this change. In this background paper, we are seeking ways to use a gender-transformative lens to account for the social nature of major adaptation efforts in key systems and to understand the political, economic, social, and cultural practices and norms that shape, but may also distort, people’s adaptation efforts. (Summary from original source)

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 2019

The Role of Women in Early REDD+ Implementation: Lessons for Future Engagement


Larson, A. M., T. Dokken, A. E. Duchelle, S. Atmadja, I. A. P. Resosudarmo, P. Cronkleton, M. Cromberg, W. Sunderlin, A. Awono, and G. Selaya. 2015. “The Role of Women in Early REDD+ Implementation: Lessons for Future Engagement.” The International Forestry Review 17 (1): 43–65.

Authors: A. M. Larson, T. Dokken, A. E. Duchelle, S. Atmadja, I. A. P. Resosudarmo, P. Cronkleton, M. Cromberg, W. Sunderlin, A. Awono, G. Selaya


Researchers and practitioners have amply discussed the potential of REDD+ to help or harm forest-based communities, but less attention has been paid to its gender dimensions. Safeguard policies are aimed at ensuring that REDD+ does not harm women, but interventions that do not seek to address imbalances at the outset may be doomed to perpetuate them. Based on research by the Center for International Forestry Research in 77 villages in 20 REDD+ sites across six countries, this article finds that women – even where they use forests as much or more – have been less involved in REDD+ initiative design decisions and processes than men, a situation with potentially significant implications for implementation and future outcomes. This article uses the research findings to argue that “participation”, while a central demand of indigenous and other local communities more generally, is only a partial solution to addressing women’s strategic needs in ways that could strengthen their position in REDD+. Rather, gender-responsive analyses are needed to understand real and perceived gender differences and anticipate risks.

Keywords: forests, climate change, Indigenous people, safeguards

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous

Year: 2015

Land Asset and Food Insecurity in Gender-Segregated Rural Households in Bangladesh


Animashaun, J. 2018. “Land Asset and Food Insecurity in Gender-Segregated Rural Households in Bangladesh.” Paper presented at 30th International Conference of Agricultural Economics, Vancouver, British Columbia, July 28-August 2.

Author: J. Animashaun


We explore the contributory role of land assets in explaining the dynamics of gender-segregated rural households food expenditure in Bangladesh. We apply both panel random and fixed effect OLS and quantile regression models on segregated households data for the periods 1991 and 1998. Results offer useful insights on the dynamics and determinants of food security and conclude with policy recommendations for land reform that would recognise the vulnerable members of both genders headed households in rural areas.

Keywords: land ownership and tenure, land reform, food security

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Households, Land Tenure, Security, Food Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2018

Forty Years of Gender Research and Environmental Policy: Where Do We Stand?


Arora-Jonsson, Seema. 2014. “Forty Years of Gender Research and Environmental Policy: Where Do We Stand?” Women’s Studies International Forum, Special Issue on Gender, Mobility and Social Change - Guest Edited by Lena Nare and Parveen Akhtar 47: 295–308.

Author: Seema Arora-Jonsson


Forty years of gender research has ensured that gender is an important category that needs to be taken into account in environmental policy and practice. A great deal of finances and attention are currently being directed to gender in development and environmental organizations. At the same time, as gender research has become more sophisticated and theoretically strong, there is also frustration among academic researchers as well as practitioners and policy makers that it appears to have had a marginal effect on environmental practice on the ground.

Policies have turned to gender mainstreaming, attempted to include women and other marginalized social groups in environmental management and markets. Change has been mixed. Mainstreaming can become a technocratic exercise. The assumption that competing interests can be negotiated by adding women to organizations for environmental governance, in disregard for social relations, is problematic. Stereo-types about women and men, sometimes buttressed by gender research predominate in policy and programs. Inclusion in markets offer new options but can further curb women's agency. Contradictions arise - as gender becomes a part of the official machinery, when women are regarded as a collective but addressed as individuals in programs and when the focus is on the governance of gender with little attention on the gender of neoliberal governance. Yet, support for ‘gender programs’ has also led to unintended openings for empowerment. It is clear that the meaning of gender is far from settled and there are intensified efforts to define what ‘gender’ is in each context. I discuss the renewed interest in gender and what this engagement with power might mean for gender research, policy and practice and where we might go from here. (Summary from original source)

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming

Year: 2014

Gender Levees: Rethinking Women’s Land Rights in Northeastern Honduras


Casolo, Jennifer. 2009. “Gender Levees: Rethinking Women’s Land Rights in Northeastern Honduras.” Journal of Agrarian Change 9 (3): 392–420. 

Author: Jennifer Casolo


In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, one woman’s impassioned speech linking women’s exclusion from land rights with the failings of Honduras’ state-led agrarian reform and counter-reform gathered gale force, simultaneously weakening particular levees of gender-bias while constructing others. Post-Hurricane Mitch organizational practices and reconstruction policies in Northeastern Honduras afforded women access to joint property titles and participation.Yet the practices and processes through which women gained new rights reproduced certain exclusionary gender structures and created new barriers to women’s participation. These contradictory consequences speak to recent feminist assessments of women’s land rights under neo-liberal land titling programmes and a resurgence of policies addressing agrarian reform, and reveal the broader stakes of struggles for women’s land rights. In so doing, they underline the importance of attending to spatial connections and historical articulations between the present and the past, and thus the past and the future.

Keywords: gender, land rights, agrarian reform, disaster, Honduras

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Honduras

Year: 2009

Land Ownership Patterns and Livelihood of Women Entrepreneurs: Implications for Sustainable Development in Ado-Odo Local Government in Ogun State, Nigeria


Yusuff, Olabisi.  2019. “Land Ownership Patterns and Livelihood of Women Entrepreneurs: Implications for Sustainable Development in Ado-Odo Local Government in Ogun State, Nigeria.” Journal of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Education, 1 (2): 36–55.

Author: Olabisi Yusuff


Land is an essential commodity everywhere in the world, for people who use it mainly as a source of livelihood, either for farming or other subsistence purposes. Land becomes a quintessential means of survival and even a natural entitlement for them and their families. Women who are the primary users of land for farming faces challenges on owning landed properties as a result of their gender.  Women, frequently and systematically lack access to land rights in many countries. Yet, land rights are keys for a life with dignity; they are the basis for entitlements which can ensure an adequate standard of living and economic independence and thus, personal freedom. This study therefore aims at examining land ownership patterns and livelihood of women in Ado-Odo local government of Ogun state. The paper was hinged on Social exclusion and feminist theory. Method of data collections was triangulated. Five hundred questionnaires were distributed to participants through multistage sampling technique. While indepth interviewed were conducted for twenty respondents that were purposively picked. Quantitative data was analyzed using simple percentage and frequency distribution. Hypothesis was tested with chi-square method. Qualitative data was analyzed through content analysis and ethnographic summaries. Findings from the study revealed that patterns of land ownership in Ado-Odo local government affects women livelihoods and that majority of women respondents want change, as they narrated their challenges as regards patterns of land ownership.  The paper recommends that for women to have full access and rights to ownership of lands there is need to deconstruct, re-construct, and re-conceptualize customary law notions as they pertain to issues of land inheritance by women. This is important for sustainable development in Ogun state, Nigeria.

Keywords: patterns, land ownership, livelihoods, women entrepreneurs, social exclusion, Nigeria

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019


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