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Property Rights

Filling the Legal Void? Impacts of a Community-Based Legal Aid Program on Women’s Land-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices

Citation:

Mueller, Valerie, Lucy Billings, Tewodaj Mogues, Amber Peterman, and Ayala Wineman. 2018. “Filling the Legal Void? Impacts of a Community-Based Legal Aid Program on Women’s Land-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices.” Oxford Development Studies 46 (4): 453–69.

Authors: Valerie Mueller, Lucy Billings , Tewodaj Mogues, Amber Peterman, Ayala Wineman

Abstract:

Securing women’s property rights improves overall welfare. While governments in Africa often make provisions for gender-equal legal rights, the dichotomy between de jure and customary practices remains. Community-based legal aid (CBLA) has been promoted to address this chasm through provision of free legal aid and education. We evaluate a one-year CBLA program in Tanzania using a randomized controlled trial. Results show women in treatment communities had higher exposure to legal services and increased their legal knowledge. Women who had access to a trained voluntary paralegal experienced a 0.31 standard deviation increase in a legal service index, and a 0.20 standard deviation increase in an index documenting their knowledge of land-related regulations. These changes were, however, insufficient to shift women’s attitudes or result in more favorable gendered land practices. Estimates by village size and progressiveness reveal that transaction costs and social context influence program success.

Topics: Education, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2018

Financialization, Resistance, and the Question of Women’s Land Rights

Citation:

Collins, Andrea M. 2018. "Financialization, Resistance, and the Question of Women’s Land Rights." International Feminist Journal of Politics 21 (3): 454- 76.

Author: Andrea M. Collins

Abstract:

The financialization of food and agricultural land has been a critical driver of the “land-grabbing” phenomenon in the post 2007–2008 period: the potential for land to be both a productive and financial asset has driven interest in long term land rentals and sales. Scholars and activists have highlighted the negative effects of these trends for rural populations. International institutions have promoted the recognition of land rights as a means to secure land from seizure, ensure equal participation in land acquisitions, and enable low income populations, including women, to access credit. At the same time, activists are promoting collective land rights, customary modes of land tenure and the rights of Indigenous peoples. For activists, land reform models that promote the collective rights of peoples to govern land are critical to resisting individualized land ownership models that encourage the alienation of land. This article reviews these rights-based frameworks using a critical feminist perspective and argues that both the institutionalist and activist approaches require more nuanced understandings of gender and difference in order to effect gender-equitable change. This article concludes by mapping new feminist research directions that consider land and resources within the context of local–global processes, the global economy, intersectionality and global rights-based discourses.

Keywords: land governance, gender, food sovereignty, collective rights, international institutions

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Land grabbing, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights

Year: 2018

Extractives vs Development Sovereignty: Building Living Consent Rights for African Women

Citation:

The WoMin Collective. 2017. “Extractives vs Development Sovereignty: Building Living Consent Rights for African Women.” Gender & Development 25 (3): 421-37.

Author: The WoMin Collective

Abstract:

This article focuses on the right of consent for women and their communities in respect of extractives and large-scale (or ‘mega’) infrastructure projects that affect their access to, and control over, land and natural resources indispensable to their lives and livelihoods. As we point out, the right of consent is determined by prevailing deeply unequal power structures. Poor women confront a double exclusion from power and decision-making about land and resource use – on the basis of both their class and gender. The political economy of power and vested interest surrounding these projects at all levels from the community to the international spheres mean that communities, and women within them, rarely enjoy the right of consent on a free, prior, informed, and ongoing basis. In addition, women are locked out of rights of land ownership in communities living under common property and this, combined with other patriarchal power relations in family and community, inhibits their voice and influence in community decision-making. This is the second exclusion they suffer, this time on the basis of their gender. Consent, even if legislated or institutionalised in policy and systems of state, corporate, or multilateral bodies is rarely granted but rather won through struggle and demand. The article will present an inspiring case in the South African context where unequal power has been inverted and a unique community, with women playing a leading role, has claimed the right of consent in practice through struggle. It concludes with some suggestions for the work needed to strengthen women’s rights of consent in respect of mega ‘development’ projects in Africa.

Keywords: resource extraction, land, Rights, women, gender, inequality, consent, development, exclusion, social struggle

Topics: Class, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2017

Commoning for Inclusion? Political Communities, Commons, Exclusion, Property and Socio-Natural Becomings

Citation:

Nightingale, Andrea J. 2019. “Commoning for Inclusion? Political Communities, Commons, Exclusion, Property and Socio-Natural Becomings.” International Journal of the Commons 13 (1): 16–35.

Author: Andrea J. Nightingale

Abstract:

As a response to the march of privatization and neoliberal individualism, the commons have recently re-emerged as an attractive alternative. In this article, I bring a feminist political ecology critique to the burgeoning literature on commoning to develop a conceptualisation of how political communities of commoning emerge through socionatural subjectification and affective relations. All commoning efforts involve a renegotiation of the (contested) political relationships through which everyday community affairs, production and exchange are organised and governed. Drawing on critical property studies, diverse economies, feminist theory and commoning literatures, this analysis critically explores the relationship between property and commoning to reveal how the commons emerge from the exercise of power. Central to my conceptualisation is that commoning is a set of practices and performances that foster new relations and subjectivities, but these relations are always contingent, ambivalent outcomes of the exercise of power. As such, commoning creates socionatural inclusions and exclusions, and any moment of coming together can be succeeded by new challenges and relations that un-common. I argue for the need to focus on doing  commoning, becoming in common, rather than seeking to cement property rights, relations of sharing and collective practices as the backbone of durable commoning efforts. Becoming in common then, is a partial, transitory becoming, one which needs to be (re)performed to remain stable over time and space.

Keywords: common property, environmental subjectivities, exclusion, feminist political ecology, inclusion, Nepal, political communities

Topics: Economies, Environment, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Privatization, Rights, Property Rights

Year: 2019

Gender Gaps in Landownership Across and Within Households in Four Asian Countries

Citation:

Kieran, Caitlin, Kathryn Sproule, Agnes R. Quisumbing, and Cheryl R. Doss. 2017. "Gender Gaps in Landownership Across and Within Households in Four Asian Countries." Land Economics 93 (2): 342-70.

Authors: Caitlin Kieran, Kathryn Sproule, Agnes R. Quisumbing, Cheryl R. Doss

Abstract:

Using nationally representative data from Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, this paper investigates which individual and household characteristics influence men’s and women’s landownership across and within households. Often neglected in household-level statistics, married women in all countries are landowners. Across different household structures, women own less land than men, and less land relative to the household average as household landholdings increase. Increasing gender inequality with household wealth cannot be consistently explained by an increasing share of household land devoted to crops. Findings support the need to strengthen women’s land rights within marriage and to protect them should the marriage dissolve.

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania Countries: Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

Year: 2017

Examining Gender Inequalities in Land Rights Indicators in Asia

Citation:

Kieran, Caitlin, Kathryn Sproule, Cheryl Doss, Agnes Quisumbing, and Sung Mi Kim. 2015. "Examining Gender Inequalities in Land Rights Indicators in Asia." Agricultural Economics 46 (S1): 119-38.

Authors: Caitlin Kieran, Kathryn Sproule, Cheryl Doss, Agnes Quisumbing, Sung Mi Kim

Abstract:

A broad consensus has emerged that strengthening women’s property rights is crucial for reducing poverty and achieving equitable growth. Despite its importance, few nationally representative data exist on women’s property rights in Asia, hindering formulation of appropriate policies to reduce gender gaps in land rights. This paper reviews existing micro-level, large sample data on men’s and women’s control of land, using this information to assess gaps in land rights. Utilizing nationally representative individual- and plot-level data from Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Vietnam, and TimorLeste, we calculate five indicators:  incidence of landownership and distribution of landownership by sex, and distribution of plots owned, mean plot size, and distribution of land area, all by sex of owner. The results reveal large gender gaps in landownership across countries. However, the limited information on joint and individual ownership are among the most critical data gaps and are an important area for future data collection and analysis.

Keywords: gender, land rights, property ownership, bundles of rights, Asia

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia Countries: Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

Year: 2015

Land Grabbing, Social Differentiation, Intensified Migration and Food Security in Northern Ghana

Citation:

Nyantakyi-Frimpong, Hanson, and Rachel Bezner Kerr. 2017. “Land Grabbing, Social Differentiation, Intensified Migration and Food Security in Northern Ghana.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (2): 421-44.

Authors: Hanson Nyantakyi-Frimpong, Rachel Bezner Kerr

Abstract:

This paper argues that large-scale land appropriation is displacing subsistence farmers and reworking agrarian social relations in northern Ghana. The recent wave of farmland enclosure has not only resulted in heightened land scarcity, but also fostered a marked social differentiation within farming communities. The dominant form of inequality is an evolving class of landless and near-landless farmers. The majority of households cope with such dynamics by deepening their own self-exploitation in the production process. The fulcrum of this self-exploitation is gendered property rights as part of the conjugal contract, with men exerting a far greater monopoly over land resources than had previously been the case. Due to acute land shortages, women’s rights to use land as wives, mothers and daughters are becoming insecure, as their vegetable plots are being reclassified as male-controlled household fields. The paper further documents the painful choices that landless farmers have to make in order to meet livelihood needs, including highly disciplined, yet low-waged, farm labor work and sharecropping contracts. In these livelihood pathways, there emerge, again, exploitative relations of production, whereby surplus is expropriated from land- dispossessed migrant laborers and concentrated with farm owners. These dynamics produce a ‘simple reproduction squeeze’ for the land-dispossessed. Overall, the paper contributes to the emerging land grabbing literature by showing geographically specific processes of change for large-scale mining operations and gendered differentiated impacts. 

Keywords: land grabbing, gender relations, peasant class differentiation, food security, Ghana

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Households, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2017

Joint Titling in Rural Peru: Impact on Women’s Participation in Household Decision-Making

Citation:

Wiig, Henrik. 2013. “Joint Titling in Rural Peru: Impact on Women’s Participation in Household Decision-Making.” World Development 52: 104-19.

Author: Henrik Wiig

Keywords: land titling, gender, empowerment, intra-household decisions, Peru, Latin America

Annotation:

Summary: 
Peru has implemented joint property rights between spouses and cohabitants on 57% of 1.5 million formalized agricultural plots. Bargaining theory indicates such redistribution of assets should empower women. This project measures influence on decision-making in 1,280 rural households, interviewing men and women separately. A historical coincidence during the land reform of the 1960–70s made only some communities eligible for plot titling. The process was exogenous and independent of both household and community characteristics. The significantly positive impact on female empowerment in simple mean comparison and econometric models including pre-titling historic variables is hence unbiased. (Summary from original source) 


Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2013

Contesting Customary Law in the Eastern Cape: Gender, Place and Land Tenure

Citation:

Weinberg, Tara. 2013. "Contesting Customary Law in the Eastern Cape: Gender, Place and Land Tenure." Acta Juridica 2013 (1): 110-7.

Author: Tara Weinberg

Abstract:

This paper explores how government interventions to restrict African access to land in the 'Ciskei' in South Africa between 1930-1960 impacted disproportionately on women. It focuses on events in three districts, Fort Beaufort, Keiskammahoek and Peddie, making use of archival research to show how African people, particularly women, responded to government interventions that progressively rendered them landless. The paper interrogates how Africans' contestation of customary law and their relationship to the land was intricately tied up with the gendered nature of their family positions, privileges and responsibilities. Since the arenas in which women could voice their issues were limited, men sometimes articulated these issues (albeit in a mediated form) when the interest of a woman who approached them coincided with their own. Male Bunga Councillors appealed to a 'living' form of customary law in attempts to win greater rights to land inheritance for women and younger sons. They positioned their children as 'responsible' daughters and 'responsible' sons. In a context in which the state frequently used the language of 'African custom', in distorted ways, to justify its land policies, men and women contested not only the restraints on Africans' access to land, but also the nature and content of customary law. 

Topics: Governance, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2013

Land Registration and Gender Equality in Ethiopia: How State–Society Relations Influence the Enforcement of Institutional Change

Citation:

Lavers, Tom. 2017. “Land Registration and Gender Equality in Ethiopia: How State–Society Relations Influence the Enforcement of Institutional Change.” Journal of Agrarian Change 17 (1): 188–207.

Author: Tom Lavers

Abstract:

In recent years, the Ethiopian government has introduced reforms to promote gender equality in land rights, including legislative changes and a land registration programme that requires the names of both husbands and wives on certificates. This paper examines implementation of these reforms through a case‐based approach that links national policy processes to analysis of two village‐level case studies, based on fieldwork conducted in 2009–10. In both cases, government initiatives do appear to have enhanced women's land rights to a certain degree. However, the causal process involved is considerably more complex than the direct link between titling and women's land rights that is assumed in much of the existing literature. The cases suggest that government initiatives are contingent upon state–society relations, and that change to informal institutions and power relations within society can constitute an important complement to land registration. 

Keywords: ethiopia, land tenure, gender, political economy, state-society relations

Topics: Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2017

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