The debate over land reform in Africa is embedded in evolutionary models, in which it is assumed landholding systems are evolving into individualized systems of ownership with greater market integration. This process is seen to be occurring even without state protection of private land rights through titling. Gender as an analytical category is excluded in evolutionary models. Women are accommodates only in their dependent positions as the wives of landholders in idealized ‘households’.
This article examines some contemporary policy discourses on land tenure reform in sub–Saharan Africa and their implications for women’s interests in land. It demonstrates an emerging consensus among a range of influential policy institutions, lawyers and academics about the potential of so–called customary systems of land tenure to meet the needs of all land users and claimants.
This book brings together ongoing research into rural African women and land rights, with the aim of contributing towards gender equity and the economic independence and human rights of African women. It looks at a number of countries: from West and East Africa and the Horn; Islamic and non-Islamic. The contributors examine women‘s land rights in theory and practice in each country, highlight the key issues and make recommendations.
The effect of prime age adult death and its consequences on access to land for the survivors has not been fully explored nor incorporated into policy regardless of the fact that high adult mortality is now the lived reality in countries affected by HIV /AIDS, particularly in Africa. This paper explores the gendered relationship between adult deaths due to HIV/AIDS and changes in land rights for the survivors particularly widows. In many African societies, women have traditionally accessed land through marriage.
This article argues that African women suffer double deprivation in traditional West African societies. They inherit land and property rights from neither their fathers nor husbands. Although some African customs and much colonial influence alleviate some gender-based violence against women and give widows’ land rights even so, many African widows suffer unjustly in Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, West Africa.
This paper highlight several issues including a growing concensus that solutions to women’s land tenure problems need to be grounded in local specificities, that gender policies related to land ownership have tended to be piecemeal, circumscribed and homogenous and what kind of policy responses might best work: reforming customary law by statute or by evolution for instance?
This paper discusses the issues involved in women’s land interests and inheritiance, with reference to recent land tenure reforms in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda and reviews debate among gender justice activists about how related issues should be addressed, in particular the problems of customary law and land titling and registration and statutory law. Recent land and tenure reforms in Africa seek to improve women’s representation in land administration bodies: while this is not in contention, current policies also seek to build on customary systems instead of breaking with them.
Does women's lack of property rights increases household poverty and their vulnerability to HIV infection? Would securing these rights mitigate the impoverishing impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic? This paper seeks to answer these questions and
This paper discuss the additional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which was adopted in 2003, signed by thirty African states and ratified by at least half that number. The paper examines the challenges posed to this Protocol by existing dynamics related to labour, land and women’s rights.
The author states: “The central question addressed in this paper is the following: to what extent the governance problems of SSA have something to do with the cultural patrimony inherited by African states and countries, culture being understood as “those customary beliefs and values that ethnic, religious, and social groups transmit fairly unchanged from generation to generation” (Guiso et al., 2006: 23)?
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