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Exploring Mobility and Migration in the Context of Rural—Urban Linkages: Why Gender and Generation Matter


Tacoli, Cecilia, and Richard Mabala. 2010. “Exploring Mobility and Migration in the Context of Rural—Urban Linkages: Why Gender and Generation Matter.” Environment and Urbanization 22 (2): 389–95.

Authors: Cecilia Tacoli, Richard Mabala


This paper draws on case studies in Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam to explore the different ways in which migration intersects with the changing relations between rural and urban areas and activities, and in the process transforms livelihoods and the relations between young and older men and women. Livelihood strategies are becoming increasingly diverse, and during interviews people were asked to describe their first, second and third occupations, the time allocated to each and the income that each produced. In all study regions, the number of young people migrating is increasing. This is influenced not only by expanding employment opportunities in destination areas but also by power inequalities within households, which means limited opportunities at home. It is increasingly common for young women to migrate, in part because they have no land rights and few prospects at home, in part because of more employment opportunities elsewhere. Young women also tend to move further than young men and for longer, and also remit a higher proportion of their income. Older men expect young men to migrate but often criticize young women for doing so, although women’s migration is more accepted as their remittances contribute more to household income. However, if young women had better prospects at home, it would limit their need to move to what is often exploitative and insecure work.

Keywords: gender, generation, livelihoods, migration, rural-urban linkages

Topics: Age, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Vietnam

Year: 2010

Occupational Genders and Gendered Occupations: The Case of Water Provisioning in Maputo, Mozambique


Alda-Vidal, Cecilia, Maria Rusca, Margreet Zwarteveen, Klaas Schwartz, and Nicky Pouw. 2017. “Occupational Genders and Gendered Occupations: The Case of Water Provisioning in Maputo, Mozambique.” Gender, Place & Culture 24 (7): 974–90.

Authors: Cecilia Alda-Vidal, Maria Rusca, Margreet Zwarteveen, Klaas Schwartz, Nicky Pouw


Taking issue with how associations between technical prowess or entrepreneurship and masculinity tend to be taken for granted or are seen as stemming from natural or intrinsic gender differences, over the last two decades feminist scholars have developed theoretical approaches to understand the gendering of professions and abilities as the performative outcome of particular cultures and histories. We build on these insights to explore how associations between masculinities, technology and entrepreneurship shape ideas and practices of small-scale water provision in Maputo. Our findings show how activities (i.e. technical craftsmanship, hard physical work) or abilities (i.e. risktaking, innovativeness) regarded as masculine tend to be considered the defining features of the profession. This shapes how men and women make sense of and talk about their work, each of them tactically emphasizing and performing those aspects best fitting their gender. Our detailed documentation of men’s and women’s everyday involvements in water provisioning challenges the existence of sharp boundaries and distinctions between genders and professional responsibilities. It shows that water provisioning requires many other types of work and skills and male and female household members collaborate and share their work. The strong normative-cultural associations between gender and water provisioning lead to a distinct underrecognition of women’s importance as water providers. We conclude that strategies to effectively support small-scale water businesses while creating more space and power for women involved in the business require the explicit recognition and re-conceptualization of water provisioning as a household business.

Keywords: technology, entrepreneurship, small scale water providers (SSIP), urban water supply, Maputo, occupational masculinities and femininities

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2017

Sustainable Energy Transition, Gender and Modernisation in Rural Sarawak


Shabdin, N. H., and R. Padfield. 2017. “Sustainable Energy Transition, Gender and Modernisation in Rural Sarawak.” Chemical Engineering Transactions 56: 259-64.

Authors: N. H. Shabdin , R. Padfield


In the past two decades policy-makers have highlighted the need for societies to use energy in a more sustainable way. In support of a general trend towards evidence based, policy-making academic research in sustainable energy related fields has gathered pace. In particular, research has concentrated largely on technologies, energy economics and broad concepts of smart energy system. Research focusing on the social sciences of sustainable energy, including topics such as human behaviour change, gender impacts, household scale studies etc. – have tended to receive limited attention from research sponsors and until recently assumed to have limited impact on a transition to a sustainable energy future. Yet recent research in these topics has shown to have great potential in achieving positive social and environmental impact. In line with increasing interest in the social science of sustainable energy transitions, this study examines social behaviour and energy practices of rural communities without access to twenty-four hour electricity in Sarawak, East Malaysia. The research aims to understand the impact of modernity in influencing rural communities’ energy transition with a particular focus on the role women play in energy behaviour at the household level. Five case studies was undertaken in the villages of Kampung Sibu Laut, Mersan, Telaga Air, Boyan and Gersik. Through purposive sampling 25 households in total were selected from these five villages. Consistent with triangulation methodological approaches the fieldwork involved a number of research methods such as a household energy survey, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and ethnographic style methods (i.e. participant observation). Investigating multiple data sources allows a deeper understanding and increased reliability of findings. Initial findings reveals women across the village play a key role in managing the household’s energy needs, and specifically, energy efficiency and energy conservation aspects. Household income also influenced the behaviour of householders with regards to energy saving. For instance, wealthier families owned more electric goods and gadgets as compared with poorer families; thus, energy demand is assumed higher in the former households. Meanwhile, villages without twenty-four hour access to affordable electricity have less energy demand while it is also noted that many of the younger generation have migrated to the town. The research also reveals that besides geographical challenges in rural Sarawak, villages close to protected ecosystems, such as Ramsar sites, have limited development. In this way, electrical appliances were far fewer as compared with villages where there is more consistent electricity supply.

Topics: Environment, Gender, Women, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Malaysia

Year: 2017

Socially Inclusive Renewable Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Shaping of Technology Analysis of Appliance Uptake in Rwanda


Muza, O., and R. Debnath. 2020. “Socially Inclusive Renewable Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Shaping of Technology Analysis of Appliance Uptake in Rwanda.” Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, University of Cambridge, London.

Authors: O. Muza, R. Debnath


Rural off-grid renewable energy solutions often fail due to uncertainties in household energy demand, insufficient community engagement, inappropriate financial models, policy inconsistency and lack of political will. Social shaping of technology (SST) of specific household electric appliances provides a critical lens of understanding the involved sociotechnical drivers behind these constraints. This study employs an SST lens to investigate appliance uptake drivers in Rwanda using the EICV5 micro dataset, such that these drivers can aid in policy design of a socially inclusive renewable energy transition. The methodology includes a systemic and epistemological review of current literature on the drivers of appliance uptake in the Global South. These drivers were then analysed using binary logistic regression on 14,580 households. Results show that appliance uptake is highly gendered and urban-centric in Rwanda. The type of appliance determines its diffusion across the welfare categories, commonly referred as to Ubudehe categories. Regression results show that mobile phones, radios and TV-sets have a higher likelihood of ownership than welfare appliances (refrigerator and laundry machine) by low-income households. There is also a high likelihood of uptake of power stabilisers in urban-higher income households, indicating poor power quality and distributive injustices. Policy implications were drawn using the lens of disruptive innovation.

Keywords: energy transition, off-grid system, Sub-Saharan Africa, social shaping of technology, gender, disruptive innovation

Topics: Gender, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2020

Electrification and Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women in India


Sedai, A. K., R. Nepal, and T. Jamasb. 2020. “Electrification and Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women in India.” Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Cambridge University, London.

Authors: A. K. Sedai, R. Nepal, T. Jamasb


This study examines the effect of quality of electrification on empowerment of women in terms of economic autonomy, agency, mobility, decision-making abilities, and time allocation in fuel collection in India. It moves beyond the consensus of counting electried households as a measure of progress in gender parity, and analyzes how the quality of electrification affects women's intra-household bargaining power, labor supply decision and fuel collection time. We develop a set of indices using principal component analysis from a large cross-section of gender-disaggregated survey. We use two stage least squares instrumental variables regression to assess the causal effect of access and hours of electricity on women's empowerment using geographic instrumental variables along with district and caste fixed effects. The results show that quality of electrication has significant positive effects on all empowerment indices. However, the effect differs at the margin of defficiency, location, living standards and education. The study recommends revisiting the paradigm of access to electrification and women empowerment by focusing on the quality of not only extensive but also intensive electrification to enhance life and economic opportunities for women and their households.

Keywords: electrification, socio-economic empowerment of women, India

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

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's Land Rights and Maternal Healthcare in Southwestern Uganda: Exploring the Implications of Women's Decision-Making Regarding Sale and Use of Land on Access to Maternal Healthcare


Nyakato, Viola N., Charles Rwabukwali, and Susan Kools. 2020. "Women's Land Rights and Maternal Healthcare in Southwestern Uganda: Exploring the Implications of Women's Decision-Making Regarding Sale and Use of Land on Access to Maternal Healthcare." African Journal of Reproductive Health 24 (1): 62-80.

Authors: Viola N. Nyakato, Charles Rwabukwali, Susan Kools


Most traditional land tenure practices among developing economies are opposed to protecting and promoting women’s land ownership rights. In Uganda, land tenure practices are largely customary and patriarchal in nature, in most communities women’s land tenure security is dependent on marriage. This paper builds a body of evidence on how gender biased land tenure negatively affects maternal healthcare decision-making for family planning, antenatal care services and skilled care during childbirth. A cross-sectional mixed methodology was used to collect household survey data. Qualitative data from individual and focus group interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis. Land was found to be an important household factor that shapes women’s maternal healthcare decision-making, not only through land ownership, but also through lands role as a source of identity, gendered land use decision-making patterns, and the allocation of resources that accrue from work on land. Most of the land-owning households are headed by men. More women than men expressed insecurity of tenure, despite the households’ land ownership status. Land use decision-making, including its sale was significantly associated with maternal healthcare decision-making. Feeling secure on land was significantly associated with maternal healthcare decisions for planned pregnancy and use of antenatal care. Land purchasing was found to significantly determine place and skill level of providers for childbirth. In conclusion, women involvement in land purchasing decisions demonstrates more control and agency in the number of children. Women’s land insecurity undermines their prospects for positive maternal health behaviours.
La plupart des pratiques foncieres traditionnelles dans les economies en développement sont opposées å la protection et å la promotion des droits de propriété fonciere des femmes. En Ouganda, les pratiques foncieres sont en grande partie coutumieres et de nature patriarcale ; dans la plupart des communautés, la sécurité fonciere des femmes dépend du mariage. Cet article établit un ensemble de preuves sur la façon dont le régime foncier sexiste affecte négativement la prise de décision en matiere de soins de santé maternels pour la planification familiale, les services de soins prénatals et les soins spécialisés pendant l'accouchement. Une méthodologie mixte transversale a été utilisée pour collecter les données des enquetes aupres des ménages. Les données qualitatives issues d'entretiens individuels et de groupes de discussion ont été analysées å l'aide d'une analyse de contenu thématique. La terre s'est avérée etre un facteur important pour les ménages qui façonne la prise de décision des femmes en matiere de soins de santé maternelle, non seulement par la propriété fonciere, mais aussi par le rôle de la terre en tant que source d'identité, les modeles de prise de décision en matiere d'utilisation des terres selon le sexe et l'allocation des ressources qui découlent du travail å terre. La plupart des ménages propriétaires fonciers sont dirigés par des hommes. Plus de femmes que dhommes ont exprimé leur insécurité doccupation, malgré le statut de propriété fonciere du ménage. La prise de décision concernant l'utilisation des terres, y compris sa vente, était significativement associée å la prise de décisions en matiere de soins de santé maternelle. Le sentiment de sécurité å terre était significativement associé aux décisions de soins de santé maternels concernant une grossesse planifiée et l'utilisation des soins prénatals. L'achat de terres a permis de déterminer de maniere significative le lieu et le niveau de compétence des prestataires pour l'accouchement. En conclusion, l'implication des femmes dans les décisions d'achat de terres démontre plus de contróle et d'agence sur le nombre d'enfants. Linsécurité fonciere des femmes compromet leurs perspectives de comportements positifs en matiere de santé maternelle.

Keywords: land ownership, decision-making, gender, maternal healthcare, Uganda

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Patriarchy, Health, Reproductive Health, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2020

Gender Differences in the Relationship between Land Ownership and Managerial Rights: Implications for Intrahousehold Farm Labor Allocation


Kang, Munsu, Benjamin Schwab, and Jisang Yu. 2020. “Gender Differences in the Relationship between Land Ownership and Managerial Rights: Implications for Intrahousehold Farm Labor Allocation”. World Development 125.

Authors: Munsu Kang, Benjamin Schwab, Jisang Yu


Recent research has increased interest in the intersection of land tenure and gender roles in African agriculture. While formalization of land ownership has been found to have important gender impacts, time use and management remain critical to both the productivity of agricultural operations as well as the welfare of household members. Thus, it is important to understand how gender intersects with the relationship between the ownership and operation of plots. We use plot level data from nationally representative household surveys in Ethiopia and Malawi to characterize the structure (sole male; sole female; or joint) and domain (plot ownership; plot management; or output management) of control over land in each household. We then answer the following research questions: 1) are there any gender gaps in the degrees of the concordance among different domains of controls? and 2) how does the structure of ownership and managerial rights affect labor allocations on plots? We find that for both males and females, sole managerial rights are most likely to occur in plots owned exclusively by either gender. However, on jointly owned plots, instances of sole planting rights are almost exclusively male. We also find that while females supply more of their own labor to plots they control, the pattern of own-gender bias in labor allocation varies with each structure-domain combination. The heterogeneity suggests gender inequality analyses related to land rights are sensitive to the choice of domain of control. 

Keywords: land rights, gender equality, farm labor, LSMS, Ethiopia, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Ethiopia, Malawi

Year: 2020

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

An Assessment of Land Tenure Regimes and Women’s Land Rights in Two Regions of Myanmar


Louis, Elizabeth, Laura Eshbach, Beth Roberts, & Naw Dah Htee. 2018. “An Assessment of Land Tenure Regimes and Women’s Land Rights in Two Regions of Myanmar.” Paper prepared for the 2018 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, The World Bank, Washington D.C., March 19-23.

Authors: Elizabeth Louis, Laura Eshbach, Beth Roberts, Naw Dah Htee


While formal laws and some customary systems in Myanmar recognize the equality of women’s rights within households, evidence suggests a complex picture in which the bundle of rights enjoyed by the male members of a household may not be equally available to women, a picture complicated by the context of Myanmar, with its variations in regional ethnic geopolitics fueled by landlessness, migration, conflict, and displacement. This paper reports on findings of two qualitative gender assessment case studies conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Bago and Tanintharyi regions of Myanmar to contribute to evidence on women’s land rights in Myanmar and help bridge the gaps in knowledge on 1) how women in Myanmar experience their bundle of rights to land: 2) what legal, social, economic, and cultural constraints women face; and 3) what mechanisms can be put in place to take into consideration these constraints as women access their land rights.

Keywords: Customary tenure, gender-responsive framework, Myanmar, qualitative assessment, women's land rights

Topics: Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2018


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