Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining


Zolnikov, Tara Rava. 2020. “Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining.” Resources Policy 65 (March). 

Author: Tara Rava Zolnikov


Artisanal and small-scale gold mining operations have been conducted in Ghana for centuries. Over time, technological advances in the industry occurred and miners separated from large-scale mining and applied this knowledge to small-scale or individual mining practices. In March 2017, the government responded to a media campaign against environmental degradation and placed a ban against water pollution; this ban affected all informal gold mining operations because of the chronic use of mercury in gold extraction, which contributes to water contamination. The unintended consequences of this ban were that approximately 1 million people lost their jobs. A qualitative study was conducted to understand how small-scale gold mining affected female miners and in turn, the implications of the ban on these women and their families. There were 21 illegal female miners interviewed in Akwatia, Ghana. The results from this study confirmed that many female miners used their mining money to support their families. Because the ban blocked mining employment opportunities, the women were forced into unreliable and low-paying alternative jobs and were unable to pay for school fees and food. Unfortunately, while the ban may have improved the environment, it also contributed to adverse outcomes related to women and children's development, like inadequate nutritional needs and school dropout rates; thus, bans like this need to be reconsidered and readapted to address these immeasurable consequences.

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Land Resources Management in Southeast Asia: Redefining the Role of Women as Land Managers


Pradipta, Lengga. 2020. “Land Resources Management in Southeast Asia: Redefining the Role of Women as Land Managers.” Komunitas: International Journal of Indonesian Society and Culture 12 (2): 206-16.

Author: Lengga Pradipta


The global trend to transform land management responsibility from the state to ‘communities’ or local user groups has neglected the implications of intra-community power differences for the effectiveness and equity of land management. Despite the rhetoric about gender equality that has mushroomed in recent years, a review of evidence from several countries in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, has shown that female participation is very minimal in land management. One basic reason for this is the formal and informal institutional exclusion of women. Moreover, the bargaining power of women within households and communities is categorized as ‘lip-service’ because patriarchy is seen as bonded to culture or tradition. Further detailed and comparative research is required to identify and analyze the major factors that affect women’s access and control over land resources, especially regarding how culture and local wisdom can accommodate this issue and ensure the participation of women in the management of resources.

Keywords: land resources management, patriarchy, women

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Governance, Indigenous, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam

Year: 2020

Communal Land Tenure Security for Widows in the Eenhana Constituency of the Ohangwena Region, Namibia


Nakanyete, Ndapwea F., Romie V. Nghitevelekwa, Mark M. Matsa, John Mendelsohn, Selma Lendelvo, and Fanuel Shikale. 2020. “Communal Land Tenure Security for Widows in the Eenhana Constituency of the Ohangwena Region, Namibia.” Journal of International Women's Studies 21 (1): 131–47.

Authors: Ndapewa Fenny Nakanyete, Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa, Mark M. Matsa, John Mendelsohn, Selma Lendelvo, Fanuel Shikale


Namibia is characterized by a history of discriminatory customary practices against women with regards to access to land, rights over land, and security of land tenure. Since independence in 1990, the country has adopted policies and legislative frameworks to bring about gender equality in all spheres of life, including the transformation of land tenure rights. These policies and acts give effect to the constitutional provisions that accord both men and women equal opportunities for access to land, rights over land and security of tenure. Widows are a particularly singled-out social group for legal protection, land security and rights to land enjoyed during their spouses’ lifetimes, and are granted protection, at least on paper, from discriminatory practices such as unlawful land evictions. This article evaluates and analyses the current status of land tenure security for widows in the Eenhana Constituency of the Ohangwena Region in Namibia. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative methods through questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions with widows, as well as key informant interviews with Communal Land Board representatives, members of the traditional authorities, as well as the Ministry of Land Reform’s regional office officials. Through this case study, the findings establish that even though Namibia acclaims progressive policies and legislative frameworks on gender equality, there are still pockets of discrimination against widows where they continue to be at risk of losing their land rights in some of Namibia’s communal areas. Addressing the land tenure insecurities and a guarantee of legal land rights for widows is key to reducing vulnerabilities within female-headed households in the communal areas. Traditional authorities remain a key governance structure in communal areas, particularly in relation to access to land, and land rights inheritance issues, amongst others. Similarly, the Communal Land Boards are statutory institutions mandated to ensure implementation of the provisions of the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002, including the protection of land rights for widows. The study therefore recommends three main measures: the removal of all forms of discriminatory customary practices against widows; continued awareness-raising initiatives on the rights of widows; and full implementation of legal provisions for the protection of widows’ land rights and security of tenure.

Keywords: widows, communal land, security, land tenure, land rights, inheritance, rural area, Namibia

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Intersectionality, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Namibia

Year: 2020

Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa


Lemke, Stefanie and Priscilla Claeys. 2020. "Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa." Land 9 (8): 266- 66. 

Authors: Stefanie Lemke , Priscilla Claeys


An increasing number of African States are recognizing customary land tenure. Yet, there is a lack of research on how community rights are recognized in legal and policy frameworks, how they are implemented in practice, and how to include marginalized groups. In 2018–2019, we engaged in collaborative exploratory research on governing natural resources for food sovereignty with social movement networks, human rights lawyers and academics in West and East Africa. In this article, we reflect on the process and methods applied to identify research gaps and partners (i.e., two field visits and regional participatory workshops in Mali and Uganda), with a view to share lessons learned. In current debates on the recognition and protection of collective rights to land and resources, we found there is a need for more clarity and documentation, with customary land being privatized and norms rapidly changing. Further, the voices of women and youth are lacking in communal land governance. This process led to collaborative research with peasant and pastoralist organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Guinea, with the aim to achieve greater self-determination and participation of women and youth in communal land governance, through capacity building, participatory research, horizontal dialogues and action for social change.

Keywords: gender, women and youth, communal land governance, right to land, collective rights, Participatory Action Research, transdisciplinary approach, COVID-19, West and East Africa, constituencies

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Women, Governance, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda

Year: 2020

Gendered ‘Choices’ in Sierra Leone: Women in Artisanal Mining in Tonkolili District


Ibrahim, Aisha Fofana, Blair Rutherford, and Doris Buss. 2020. “Gendered ‘Choices’ in Sierra Leone: Women in Artisanal Mining in Tonkolili District.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines 54 (1): 157–76. 

Authors: Aisha Fofana Ibrahim, Blair Rutherford, Doris Buss


This paper examines women’s “choices” in artisanal gold mining in Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone. It argues that women’s status in Sierra Leone and their socio-economic conditions contribute to the particular economic practices within artisanal gold mining in which they are able to participate. Showing how state interventions are enmeshed in the pre-existing social relations, dependency ties and governance relations in gold mining sites, it examines how gendered norms and practices, combined with governance issues pertaining to the effectiveness of policy in advancing equality, contribute to keeping women in gendered roles and limit their empowerment and full participation in the sector. These norms and relationships largely work against women, keeping them on the margins of the artisanal gold mines even while this economic activity may provide women (and their households) with muchneeded financial resources.

Cet article examine les « choix » des femmes en matière d’extraction artisanale de l’or dans le district de Tonkolili, en Sierra Leone. Il soutient que le statut et les conditions socioéconomiques des femmes en Sierra Leone contribuent aux pratiques économiques particulières du secteur de l’extraction artisanale de l’or auxquelles elles sont capables de participer. En montrant comment les interventions de l’État sont imbriquées dans les rapports sociaux préexistants, les liens de dépendance et les relations de gouvernance dans les sites aurifères, l’article examine comment les normes et les pratiques genrées, associées aux problèmes de gouvernance relatifs à l’efficacité des politiques de promotion de l’égalité entre les genres, contribuent à maintenir les femmes dans des rôles genrés et à limiter leur habilitation et leur pleine participation au secteur. Ces normes et ces relations jouent en défaveur des femmes, en les maintenant à la marge des mines d’or artisanales, alors que cette activité économique peut offrir aux femmes (et à leurs familles) des ressources financières très nécessaires.

Keywords: Sierra Leone, gender, artisanal mining, governance, genre, exploitation minière artisanale, gouvernance

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2020

Women’s Access to Land and Security of Tenure Post 2013 Constitution in Zimbabwe


Bhatasara, Sandra. 2020. “Women’s Access to Land and Security of Tenure Post 2013 Constitution in Zimbabwe.” African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences 3 (1): 186-194.

Author: Sandra Bhatasara


Rural women’s livelihoods in Africa are dependent on their rights and entitlement to land as well as security of tenure. Equally important is how land laws and land governance systems shape and reshape women’s access to land and tenure security. As such, this paper focuses on women’s access to land and tenure security after the adoption of a new Constitution in 2013 and Statutory Instrument 53 of 2014 in Zimbabwe. Whereas both legal instruments are progressive and guarantee women’s rights to property, their realisation is shrouded in complexities and contradictions. Customary practices still insist on male privileges to own and allocate land whilst women have fragile usufruct rights and limited sole or joint ownership. State and administrators are also complicit in violating women’s rights. Overall, there is need to uphold both the Constitution and related laws to promote gender justice when it comes to women’s land rights and tenure security.

Keywords: women, land rights, tenure security, Constitution, Zimbabwe, land laws

Topics: Gender, Women, Governance, Constitutions, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2020

African Feminism, Land Tenure and Soil Rights in Africa: A Case of Uganda


Busingye, Godard. 2020. “African Feminism, Land Tenure and Soil Rights in Africa: A Case of Uganda.” In Legal Instruments for Sustainable Soil Management in Africa, edited by Hadijah Yahyah, Harald Ginzky, Emmanuel Kasimbazi, Robert Kibugi, and Oliver C. Ruppel, 133–55. International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Author: Busingye, Godard


This chapter discusses the relationship between African feminism, land tenure and soil rights in Africa. It uses the lenses of African feminism, particularly the motherism brand, to provide a medium through which Africans can assert their rights to land and soil. It bases on a case of Uganda to critique the ideology of patriarchy which denies Africans automatic rights to land and soil or jus soli, through policy and the law. Automatic rights to land and soil would ensure that everyone in Africa is bonded to the land and soil as a mother is bonded to her child. Land and soil rights, which mean the same thing to an African, are contemporaneously acquired and are linked to citizenship rights, largely based on the principle of jus sanguinius. A general conclusion drawn is that in order to rectify the situation discussed African governments should use the lenses of African feminism to reconstruct policies and re-enact laws related to land ownership, soil and sustainable development. It recommends that African governments should review their land policies and laws, including constitutions, in order to grant land and soil rights to all Africans based on the principle of jus soli, while that of jus sanguinius should only be adopted in circumstances where it does not disadvantage any person. Future researchers should build on the analysis made herein and step up their advocacy drives to persuade African governments to undertake the necessary reforms in their land regulatory policies and laws. (Abstract from Springer Link)

Topics: Citizenship, Development, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2020

Patriarchy and Progressive Politics: Gendered Resistance to Mining through Everyday Social Relations of State Formation in Intag, Ecuador


Billo, Emily. 2020. “Patriarchy and Progressive Politics: Gendered Resistance to Mining through Everyday Social Relations of State Formation in Intag, Ecuador.” Human Geography 13 (1): 16–26.

Author: Emily Billo


Over the last decade, the Ecuadorian government, following regional trends, called for social and environmental progress through state-controlled resource extraction. Scholars have demonstrated that this neo-extractive model warranted further investigation regarding its progressive aims. Specifically, this paper examines gendered critiques of state-led extractivism linked to expanding governmental and social programs. Even as women asserted their political recognition and rights in state politics, they still confronted patriarchal relations in their everyday lives. Drawing on eight months of ethnographic research over 6 years in campesino communities of Junín and Chalguayacu Alto, I argue that women in Intag challenged patriarchal state relations of extractive capitalism. This paper offers a novel contribution to literature on neo-extractivism and gendered forms of resistance. Women held the state accountable for its promises of social welfare and infrastructural development through which it generated public support for controversial mineral projects. These symbols of state paternalism revealed expanded patriarchal structures that underpinned their daily lives, with significance for a gendered politics of resistance.

Durante la última década, el gobierno ecuatoriano, siguiendo las tendencias regionales, pidió progreso social y ambiental a través de la extracción de recursos controlada por el estado. Los académicos han demostrado que este modelo neoextractivo justificaba una mayor investigación sobre sus objetivos progresivos. Específicamente, este artículo examina las críticas de género del extractivismo dirigido por el estado y vinculado a la expansión de los programas gubernamentales y sociales. Aun cuando las mujeres afirmaron su reconocimiento político y sus derechos en la política estatal, siguieron confrontando las relaciones patriarcales en sus vidas cotidianas. Basándome en ocho meses de investigación etnográfica durante seis años en comunidades campesinas de Junín y Chalguayacu Alto, sostengo que las mujeres en Intag desafiaron las relaciones estatales patriarcales del capitalismo extractivo. Este artículo ofrece una novedosa contribución a la literatura sobre neo-extractivismo y formas de resistencia de género. Las mujeres responsabilizaron al estado por sus promesas de bienestar social y desarrollo de infraestructura a través de las cuales generó apoyo público para proyectos minerales controvertidos. Estos símbolos del paternalismo estatal revelaron estructuras patriarcales expandidas que apuntalaron sus vidas cotidianas, con importancia para una política de resistencia de género.

Keywords: Ecuador, gendered resistance, neo-extraction, patriarchy, social reproduction, resistencia de género, patriarcado, reproducción social, neoextraccíon

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Ecuador

Year: 2020

Gender and Transition in Climate Governance


Kronsell, Annica. 2013. “Gender and Transition in Climate Governance.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 7: 1–15.

Author: Annica Kronsell


This article demonstrates how gender is relevant to governance of a transition to a low-carbon economy. It does this through insights derived from gender and transition studies in combination, applied and illustrated through a study of climate governance in Sweden. The approach is constructive and uses as central concepts: transition arenas, niches, regimes and landscapes in combination with theories from gender studies. The article suggests that the two fields are linked through three processes that are necessary to make a transition: to strengthen participation, to deal with oppressive power relations and to challenge institutionalized norms. It illustrates how masculine norms seem to permeate the landscape of climate transitions and argues that gender regimes tend to dictate planning, measures and implementation. Finally, the article proposes that a gender perspective on climate governance would analyze participation in transition arenas and niches by asking who is included in climate governance and what ideas influence climate policies.

Keywords: climate governance, equal respresentation, gender parity, gender regime, masculine norms, transition theories

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Governance, Infrastructure Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2013

Women, Land and Power: The Impact of the Communal Land Rights Act


Claassens, Aninka, and Sizani Ngubane. 2008. “Women, Land and Power: The Impact of the Communal Land Rights Act.” In Land, Power and Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act, edited by  Aninka Classens and Ben Cousins, 154-183. Cape Town, South Africa: UCT Press.

Authors: Aninka Claassens, Sizani Ngubane


"This chapter examines the likely impact of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 on rural women in South Africa. It is based on research undertaken by the authors in the context of the legal challenge1 to the Act. The Act deals with the content and vesting of land rights as well as the powers and functions of the structures that will administer 'communal' land. The chapter looks at the interplay between land rights and power over land. The discussion begins with a description of some of the problems facing rural women in the former homeland areas covered by the Act. It then describes issues raised by women's organisations in late 2003 during the parliamentary process leading to the passing of the Communal Land Rights Bill. There were two main objections to the Bill. The first was that entrenching the power of traditional leaders over land was likely to reinforce patriarchal power relations and harden the terrain within which women struggle to access and retain land. The second was that the Bill would entrench past discrimination against women by upgrading and formalising 'old order' rights held exclusively by men" (Claasens & Ngubane 2008, 154).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Governance, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2008


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