Full citation: Villanueva, R., "The Big Picture: Land and Gender Issues in Matrilineal Mozambique," RESEARCH REPORT (May 2011).

The Big Picture: Land and Gender Issues in Matrilineal Mozambique

Abstract: This paper analyses using empirical data women’s reality in Northern Mozambique when it comes to land tenure. In Mozambique coexist two different kinship systems, one patrilineal system in force in Southern Mozambique and one matrilineal in parts of the centre and North. The paper argues that in the current context, the right of women to access and administer land is being limited not so much by traditional and customary social rules and law, but rather by the adverse socioeconomic context which characterizes the whole peasant sector. On the other, data confirm that in spite of the appearance of several progressive laws in recent years, which include measures to promote gender equality and reinforce women rights through the overturning of discriminatory social practices, the guarantee and ““de facto” exercising of their rights by women is still conditioned by the social role as a mother or wife, and not as an individual with rights “per se.”