Gender Equity

Gains for Women from Farmland Redistribution in South Africa and Sustainable Pathways out of Poverty – Insights from Recent Evidence


Motala, Shirin, Stewart Ngandu, and Aubrey Mpungose. 2016. “Gains for Women from Farmland Redistribution in South Africa and Sustainable Pathways out of Poverty – Insights from Recent Evidence.” Agenda 30 (4): 85-98.  

Authors: Shirin Motala, Stewart Ngandu, Aubrey Mpungose


Equitable access to land and other natural resources aimed at significant rural poverty reduction are at the forefront of ambitious goals entrenched in post-1994 land and agrarian policies. Among other targets, redistributive land policies promise that women should make up at least one-third of all land reform beneficiaries. After two decades of farmland redistribution, disputes persist as to whether these outcomes have been achieved.

This focus piece systematically reviews evidence from a micro-level study based on blended information gathering strategies in three provinces that vary in terms of their agrarian structures and agro-ecology. The study uniquely overlays farmland transfer data with provisioning of agricultural development support information.

The analysis embeds the gender equity-land reform puzzle in the traditional poverty-land reform nexus. Its main question explores the extent to which land and agrarian reform interventions have produced an altered livelihood dynamic for land reform beneficiaries and more importantly to measure how this has translated into gendered sustainable livelihood impacts at household level. The study draws on the sustainable livelihoods framework as the lens for making sense of gender inequalities in the countryside and the extent to which there has been equitable redress in the interests of rural women.

The findings summarise trends in respect of access, ownership and control of land assets and the related livelihood outcomes by gender. Evidence suggests that shrinking numbers of black farmers gain ownership of land and enjoy access to Government-financed support for on-farm production and participation in agricultural value chains beyond the farm gate. This finding is more pronounced for women farmers. More importantly, it points to important design features of such interventions which can and do impact on promoting sustainable livelihoods, particularly for female headed households.

Keywords: land and agrarian reform, gender, gender inequality, sustainable livelihoods, pro-poor development, farmland transfer, land ownership

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Households, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2016

Anatomy of Women’s Landlessness in the Patrilineal Customary Land Tenure Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa and a Policy Pathway


Chigbu, Uchendu Eugene. 2019. “Anatomy of Women’s Landlessness in the Patrilineal Customary Land Tenure Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa and a Policy Pathway.” Land Use Policy 86: 126–35.

Author: Uchendu Eugene Chigbu


A typical character of land tenure or property systems in sub-Saharan Africa is that the systems exclude women (implicitly and explicitly). That is why the discourse on women and land tenure remains a burgeoning policy debate in sub-Saharan Africa. This study is relevant for land policy (and land governance) in sub-Saharan Africa because it evokes the minority voices of women in the land and gender discourse in sub-Saharan Africa. The study dissects, anatomically, female landlessness by probing why women still do not enjoy equal land rights today, and what must be done (policy-wise) to unchain women from their state of landlessness. By way of methodology, the study reviews relevant literature on the historical dimension of women's access to property rights. It is an explorative study based on two e-Focus Group Discussions conducted on two different online platforms to enable the capture of more expert knowledge on the subject of customary land tenure, gender and women's land rights in (and on) sub-Saharan Africa. The findings exposed three pillars of women's landlessness in sub-Saharan Africa, including an analysis of the stages of male power that cripple women's capacity to own or have access to land. The study identified and explained the nature of the contributions of different stages of male powers — including linguistic power, son power, husband power, and father power — to women's landlessness. It shows how these powers form the elements of male dominance which interact over a life course to cripple women's physical and psychological strength within their social spaces (which usually results into socio-political and economic disempowerments). As a key output, the study produced a policy pathway to neutralising the pillars of women's landlessness.

Keywords: Africa, Customary tenure, gender equality, gender equity, landlessness, land governance, land policy, land rights, land tenure, Sub-Saharan Africa, women

Topics: Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 2019

Female Access to Fertile Land and Other Inputs in Zambia: Why Women Get Lower Yields


Burke, William J., Serena Li, and Dingiswayo Banda. 2018. “Female Access to Fertile Land and Other Inputs in Zambia: Why Women Get Lower Yields.” Agriculture and Human Values 35: 761–75.

Authors: William J. Burke, Serena Li, Dingiswayo Banda


Throughout the developing world, it is a well-documented fact that women farmers tend to get lower yields than their male counterparts. Typically this is attributed to disproportionate access to high-quality inputs and labor, with some even arguing there could be a skills-gap stemming from unbalanced access to training and education. This article examines the gender-based yield gap in the context of Zambian maize producers. In addition to the usual drivers, we argue that Zambia’s patriarchal and multi-tiered land distribution system could disfavor women with respect to accessing quality soils. We are uniquely able to control for soil characteristics using farm data from a sample of 1573 fields with accompanying soil analysis. We find an expected difference in yields, but no evidence of a gap in unobserved characteristics, like skill, after controlling for access to inputs, especially quality soil, suggesting women are indeed disproportionately disadvantaged. We discuss how our findings could be used to develop self-targeting policy interventions that could empower women and would be consistent with the government’s stated equity goals.

Keywords: gender yield gap, productivity, soil quality, Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Patriarchy, Land Tenure Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zambia

Year: 2018

Climate Change, the Intersectional Imperative, and the Opportunity of the Green New Deal


Hathaway, Julia Robertson. 2020. “Climate Change, the Intersectional Imperative, and the Opportunity of the Green New Deal.” Environmental Communication 14 (1): 13–22. 

Author: Julia Robertson Hathaway


This article discusses why climate change communicators, including scholars and practitioners, must acknowledge and understand climate change as a product of social and economic inequities. In arguing that communicators do not yet fully understand why an intersectional approach is necessary to avoid climate disaster, I review the literature focusing on one basis of marginalization – gender – to illustrate how inequality is a root cause of global environmental damage. Gender inequities are discussed as a cause of the climate crisis, with their eradication, with women as leaders, as key to a sustainable future. I then examine the Green New Deal as an example of an intersectional climate change policy that looks beyond scientific, technical and political solutions to the inextricable link between crises of climate change, poverty, extreme inequality, and racial and economic injustice. Finally, I contend that communicators and activists must work together to foreground social, racial, and economic inequities in order to successfully address the existential threat of climate change.

Keywords: climate change, intersectionality, gender, feminist, inequities, Green New Deal

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Race

Year: 2020

Going Back to the Well: Women, Agency, and Climate Adaptation


Huyer, Sophia, Tatiana Gumucio. 2020. “Going Back to the Well: Women, Agency, and Climate Adaptation.” World Journal of Agriculture and Soil Science 5(3). 

Authors: Sophia Huyer, Tatiana Gumucio


Rising temperatures and more extreme weather associated with climate change are expected to exacerbate existing social and gender inequalities across the globe. Climate change has differential effects on women and men: they are exposed to different climate shocks and experience different impacts related to gender differences in roles, rights, and opportunities. Women’s knowledge, networks, and assets are a significant aspect of resilience, but little attention is given to enabling their capacity as active agents. Instead the focus is on women as vulnerable victims of climate change. Evidence is emerging that adaptation and mitigation approaches in climate-resilient agriculture can and must reduce women’s and men’s vulnerabilities, promote their capacities for resilience, support women to exercise their agency, and, consequently, increase gender equality. Not only do we need to implement climate approaches that benefit women, we need to increase women’s resilience if we are going to effectively address and mitigate climate impacts. If we don’t, we will be on track to miss the 2 degree target – and at same time gender inequality will increase worldwide.

A recent review of literature and regional case studies with researchers from four regions identified the critical dimensions of gender in/equality in climate-resilient agriculture. They are: (1) participation in decision-making at different levels, (2) work burden, (3) access to and use of productive resources such as agroclimatic information, technology, livelihood incomes, and credit, and (4) collective action. Models for action are presented that show how gender-responsive approaches can promote equality while increasing resilience for all.

Keywords: 'gender', climate, women, agency, equality, equity, technology, collective, decision-making, workload

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Livelihoods

Year: 2020

Gestión de Riesgo de Desastres, Género y Cambio Climático. Percepciones Sociales en Yucatán, México


Soares, Denise, and Daniel Murillo-Licea. 2013. “Gestión de riesgo de desastres, género y cambio climático. Percepciones sociales en Yucatán, México.” Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 10 (72): 181-99.

Authors: Denise Soares, Daniel Murillo-Licea


El objetivo del presente trabajo es abonar a la reflexión de la articulación entre la gestión de riesgo de desastres y la equidad de género. Se presenta un estudio de caso en cuatro localidades del estado de Yucatán, México, sobre percepciones respecto al cambio climático y capacidades institucionales sobre gestión de riesgos. Para conocer las percepciones sociales locales se han utilizado los métodos de encuestas y entrevistas a informantes clave, y los resultados encontrados dan cuenta de la existencia de severos problemas en la institucionalidad municipal encargada tanto de la gestión de riesgo de desastres como de la promoción de procesos de mayor igualdad de género; además de esto, se registró un escaso conocimiento sobre los factores que provocan el cambio climático.
The aim of this paper is to contribute to the reflection on the link between disaster risk management and gender equity. It is presented a case study on perceptions about climate change and institutional abilities regarding risk management in four locations of the state of Yucatan, Mexico. In order to know the local social perceptions, surveys and interviews were administered to key informants, and the results account for the existence of serious problems in municipal institutions in charge of both disaster risk management and the promotion of processes to generate greater gender equality. Additionally, a lack of knowledge about the factors that cause climate change was recorded.
Le but de ce travail est porté à la réflexion de l’articulation entre la gestion des risques de catastrophes et l’égalité de genre. Il se présente une étude de cas en quatre localités de l’état de Yucatan, Mexique, sur les perceptions à propos du changement climatique et les capacités institutionnelles sur la gestion de risques. Pour connaître les perceptions sociales locales, les méthodes d’enquêtes et d’interviews à des informateurs clés se sont utilisées, et les résultats trouvés rendent compte de l’existence de problèmes très graves dans les institutions municipales chargées de la gestion de risques de catastrophes et des processus visant à promouvoir une plus grande égalité entre les sexes ; en plus de cela, un manque de connaissance sur les facteurs qui occasionnent le changement climatique s’est enregistré.

Keywords: cambio climático, gestión de riesgo de desastre, gênero, gender, climate change, Disaster Risk Management, genre, changement climatique, gestion de risque de catastrophe

Topics: Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2013

Equitable, Ecological Degrowth: Feminist Contributions


Perkins, Patricia E. 2010. Equitable, Ecological Degrowth: Feminist Contributions. Paper presented at the 2nd Conference on Economic Degrowth: For Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity. March 26-29.

Author: Patricia E. Perkins


This paper uses feminist ecological economics and ecofeminist methodologies and theory to contribute to Degrowth in theory and practice. These feminist contributions involve highlighting unpaid work and ecological services, redistribution, and participatory processes as crucially important in developing the new paradigm and movement for equitable material Degrowth. 

Keywords: feminist ecological economics, ecofeminism, unpaid work, economic redistribution, political participation, diversity

Topics: Economies, Ecological Economics, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Livelihoods

Year: 2010

Gender Mainstreaming and Water Development Projects: Analyzing Unexpected Enviro-Social Impacts in Bolivia, India, and Lesotho


Cairns, Maryann R., Cassandra L. Workman, and Indrakshi Tandon. 2017. "Gender Mainstreaming and Water Development Projects: Analyzing Unexpected Enviro-Social Impacts in Bolivia, India, and Lesotho." Gender, Place & Culture 24 (3): 325-42.

Authors: Maryann R. Cairns, Cassandra L. Workman, Indrakshi Tandon


Gender mainstreaming policies and programs, meant to be gender-sensitive or to target gender issues, are increasingly implemented by both governmental and non-governmental actors. However, these projects seem set to continually aim solely at women, despite more than a decade of work encouraging broader scope. Using recent case studies from Bolivia, Lesotho, and India, we address the tensions laden in three major questions about water, gender, and development: (1) Is mandatory inclusion of women in water governance and decision-making effective?, (2) Do water development projects provide equal benefits and burdens for women and men?, and (3) In what ways are water projects and their policies impacting and impacted by gendered enviro-social spaces? By providing triangulated data from ethnographic studies in three distinct local contexts, we are able to pinpoint major cross-cutting themes that serve to highlight and interrogate the gendered impacts of water development projects’ policies: public and private lives, women’s labor expectations, and managing participation. We find that gender mainstreaming endeavors continue to fall short in their aim to equitably include women in their programming and that geographic, environmental, and socio-cultural spaces are intimately related to how these equitability issues play out. We provide practical recommendations on how to address these issues.
Las políticas y programas de transversalización de género, diseñadas para ser sensibles al género o con objetivos en temas relacionados con éste, se implementan cada vez más tanto por actores gubernamentales como no gubernamentales. Sin embargo, estos proyectos parecen programados para apuntar únicamente y en forma continua a las mujeres, a pesar de más de una década de trabajo alentando un abordaje más abarcativo. Utilizando estudios de caso recientes de Bolivia, Lesoto e India, analizamos las tensiones generadas en tres cuestiones principales acerca del agua, el género y el desarrollo: 1) ¿Es efectiva la obligatoriedad de la incorporación de las mujeres en la gobernanza y la toma de decisiones sobre el agua?, 2) ¿Los proyectos de desarrollo hídrico brindan los mismos beneficios y cargas a las mujeres que a los hombres?, y 3) ¿De qué maneras los proyectos de agua y sus políticas están impactando en los espacios socioambientales generizados, y de qué manera están siendo impactados por éstos? Ofreciendo datos triangulados de estudios etnográficos en tres contextos locales distintos, pudimos identificar importantes temas transversales que sirven para destacar e interrogar los impactos generizados de las políticas de los proyectos de desarrollo hídrico: las vidas públicas y privadas, las expectativas laborales de las mujeres y la administración de la participación. Encontramos que los esfuerzos en pos de una transversalización del género continúan teniendo sus límites en su intento por incluir de forma equitativa a las mujeres en su programación y que los espacios geográficos, ambientales y socioculturales están íntimamente relacionados con la forma en que se desarrollan estos temas de equidad. Brindamos recomendaciones prácticas sobre cómo abordar estos problemas.

Keywords: women, water supply, equity and inclusion, NGOs, development, Mujeres, provisión de agua, equidad e inclusión, ONG, desarrollo, 女性, 水资源供给, 平等与包容, 非政府组织, 发展

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, NGOs Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Bolivia, India, Lesotho

Year: 2017

Diagnóstico de la situación de las mujeres desde el enfoque de género en el ámbito organizativo, político y socioeconómico en nueve municipios del Departamento de Nariño


Ordoñez García, María Elena, Alexandra Pazmiño Montilla, and María Cristina Burgos Flores. 2012. Diagnóstico de la situación de las mujeres desde el enfoque de género en el ámbito organizativo, político y socioeconómico en nueve municipios del Departamento de Nariño. New York: UNDP.

Authors: María Elena Ordoñez García, Alexandra Pazmiño Montilla, María Cristina Burgos Flores



The law establishes that the territorial entities at all levels must promote policies, programs and projects of protection and integral promotion for women.

This transformative aspect that the municipality can have is relevant when we talk about one of the outstanding issues in the mayoralties of our country: gender equity. In fact, although this issue has a growing importance in the agendas of civil society, in academic circles and in departmental and national governments, it faces, in contrast, a timid reflex in the dynamics proposed by municipal governments.

At a departmental level, efforts were made to consolidate instances of political and social interlocution that have opened spaces for legitimization and visibility of the role of women. Even the existing cultural, political and public order conditions continue to perpetuate the male power par excellence and the invisibility of the role of women as managers of development.

Until now, a large part of the local actions "with sensitivity to gender issues" have focused on raising awareness of social issues such as violence against women within families. Undoubtedly, this situation represents a serious problem in the daily life of women in the municipalities of the Department of Nariño.



La ley establece que los entes territoriales a todos los niveles deben promover políticas, programas y proyectos de protección y promoción integral para las mujeres. 

Este aspecto transformador que puede tener el municipio, es relevante cuando hablamos de uno de los temas pendientes en las alcaldías de nuestro país: la equidad de género. En efecto, a pesar de que este tema tiene una importancia creciente en las agendas de la sociedad civil, en los medios académicos y en los gobiernos departamentales y nacional, enfrenta, en contraste, un reflejo tímido en las dinámicas propuestas por los gobiernos municipales. 

A nivel Departamental se trabajó en consolidar instancias de interlocución política y social que ha abierto espacios de legitimación y visibilización del papel de las mujeres, aún las condiciones culturales, políticas y de orden público existentes, siguen perpetuando el poder masculino por excelencia y la invisibilización del rol de las mujeres como gestoras del desarrollo. 

Hasta ahora, gran parte de las acciones locales “con sensibilidad al tema de género”, se han enfocado a la sensibilización de problemáticas sociales como la violencia contra las mujeres al interior de las familias. Sin duda, esta situación representa un grave problema en la vida cotidiana de las mujeres en los municipios de del Departamento de Nariño. 

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

La ley para las mujeres rurales en Colombia alcances y perspectivas


Gutiérrez C., Myriam. 2003. “La ley para las mujeres rurales en Colombia alcances y perspectivas.” Trabajo Social 5: 56–80.

Author: Myriam Gutiérrez C.


The Law for the rural women is a dream and a hope that has been a long fight by the Colombian women, up to now it has been sanctioned but has not been applied. If it is regulated in the spirit that the women wanted to give to it and this applies, not only would they surpass many obstacles and give new opportunities for rural poor women, but also they would open ways for seeking social equity in relation to gender, ethnicity, and race in the new schemes of Sustainable Rural Development with a more human face.
La Ley para las mujeres rurales es un sueño y una esperanza largamente luchada por las mujeres colombianas, hasta ahora solo ha sido sancionada pero no ha sido aplicada, si se reglamenta en el espíritu que las mujeres han querido darle y se aplica, no solo se lograrían superar muchos obstáculos y dar nuevas oportunidades para las mujeres pobres rurales, sino también se abrirían caminos hacia la búsqueda de la equidad social, de género, étnica y racial en los nuevos esquemas de Desarrollo Rural Sostenible con un rostro más humano.

Keywords: ley, mujeres rurales, obstaculos, oportunidades equidad de género, law, rural women, obstacles, opportunities, equity, gender

Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Race Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2003


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