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Policy reform toward gender equality in Ethiopia

Full citation: Kumar, N. and Quisumbing, A., "Policy Reform toward Gender Equality in Ethiopia" 1226 IFPRI DISCUSSION PAPER (November 2012). - Using data from the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS), the study shows how two seemingly unrelated reforms—community-based land registration, undertaken since 2003, and changes in the Family Code implemented in 2000—may have created conditions that reinforce each other in improving gender equity. Specifically, the analysis finds (among other things) impacts of the land registration effort on the evolution of perceptions of the distribution of assets upon divorce. The study found that awareness about the land registration process is positively correlated with the shift in perceptions toward equal division of land and livestock upon divorce, particularly for wives in male-headed households. The presence of female members in the Land Administration Committee also had a positive effect on the shift in perceptions toward a more equal distribution of assets upon divorce. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Ethiopia
Creator:
Kumar, N. and Quisumbing, A. R.
Year:
2012

Accessing Justice: Models, Strategies and Best Practices on Women's Empowerment

Full citation: IDLO, "Accessing Justice: Models, Strategies and Best Practices on Women's Empowerment," IDLO REPORT (2013). - This paper highlights some of the challenges and solutions for women’s access to justice in diverse legal systems. It shows that women face structural and cultural barriers to accessing justice – insufficient knowledge of rights and remedies, illiteracy or poor literacy, and lack of resources or time to participate in justice processes. This is all the more so as women usually have intensive family responsibilities. Even where women can access the formal justice sector, the outcomes of the process often fall far short of those envisaged by international standards, particularly with regard to property rights, inheritance, divorce and child custody, and spousal abuse. Focusing on legal empowerment as a way to improve both access to justice and the quality of justice women receive, the study presents strategies and best practices in both formal and informal justice systems. Legal empowerment approaches share one core concept: using the law to enable disadvantaged groups to access justice and realize basic rights. They include legal education; legal aid services; support for non-discriminatory dispute resolution fora to complement or supplement informal systems; training of paralegals; and rights awareness. In considering whether such approaches can improve the quality of justice women receive, Accessing Justice brings together a number of IDLO-sponsored case studies in Afghanistan, India, Namibia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Morocco, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. These highlight a variety of lessons for development practitioners, both in terms of engagement with the informal legal sector and, more generally, for the use of legal empowerment and top-down / bottom-up strategies. In an appropriate context, carefully designed legal empowerment strategies may constitute a valuable contribution to improving women’s access to justice.
[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, India
Creator:
IDLO
Year:
2013

A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment

Full citation: Buvinic, M., Furst-Nichols, R., and Pryor, E. C., "A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment," UNITED NATIONS PUBLICATION (2013). - This roadmap has a section on the importance of formal ownership and control over farmland for women’s productivity and economic security, hinging on paying attention to social and local contexts. It recommends an integrated suite of services, which target both production and marketing and address social constraints. It notes that land titling programs can help women where women’s names are on the title and where attention is paid to customary rules and the ways they may discriminate. Also finds that agricultural interventions have successfully increased the stock of both men’s and/or women’s s tangible assets, but particularly those assets they own jointly. In addition, projects have also increased the stock of social and human capital, particularly for women. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Buvinic, M., Furst-Nichols, R., and Pryor, E. C.
Year:
2013

Economic Self-help Group Programs for Improving Women’s Empowerment: A Systematic review

Full citation: Brody C, De Hoop T, Vojtkova M, Warnock R, Dunbar M, Murthy P, Dworkin S. (2015). “Economic Self-help Group Programs for Improving Women’s Empowerment: A Systematic review.” Campbell Systematic Reviews 2015:19. - This review looks at the impacts of self-help groups with a broad range of collective finance, enterprise, and livelihood components on women’s political, economic, social, and psychological empowerment in low- and middle-income countries using evidence from rigorous quantitative evaluations. The secondary objective was to examine the perspectives of female participants on their experiences of empowerment as a result of participation in economic SHGs in low- and middle-income countries using evidence from high-quality qualitative evaluations. The study found that women’s economic SHGs have positive statistically significant effects on various dimensions of women’s empowerment, including economic, social and political empowerment, but no statistically significant effects of SHGs on psychological empowerment. The study also found no evidence of adverse effects, including no negative consequences regarding domestic violence. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Brody C, De Hoop T, Vojtkova M, Warnock R, Dunbar M, Murthy P, and Dworkin S.
Year:
2015

Delivering on Women Farmers’ Rights

Full citation: Euphrasia, A. (2015). “Delivering on Women Farmers’ Rights.” - This policy brief discusses the reasons that the situation for women smallholder farmers across Africa has not changed much in the past decade. It identifies four main barriers to women smallholder farmers’ participation: women’s access to and control of land; unpaid care work (childcare, household maintenance, etc.); women’s lack of access to finance and extension services offered by the state; and limited state investments in the agricultural sector. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Euphrasia, A.
Year:
2015

Empowering Women: Legal Rights and Economic Opportunities in Africa

Full citation: Hallward-Driemeier, M. and Hasan, T. (2012). “Empowering Women: Legal Rights and Economic Opportunities in Africa.” Africa Development Forum Series, World Bank, Washington, DC. - This paper finds that out of forty-three African jurisdictions twenty-two formally recognize males as the head of the household, giving them sole discretion to represent the household and make household decisions. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Hallward-Driemeier, M. and Hasan, T.
Year:
2012

Greater empowerment and security of women through the Joint Land Ownership Certificate

Full citation: International Land Coalition. (2014). “Greater empowerment and security of women through the Joint Land Ownership Certificate.” - This paper looks at work in Nepal to push for joint ownership and increased ownership for women of land. Pre-titling activities included workshops, demonstrations, art work, meetings, and street drama. The Government of Nepal then introduced the Joint Land Certificate (JLC), issued to both husband and wife, through the Budget Policy of 2011/12. It finds that good practice calls for reducing cost and increase access generally. Fee waivers, special rates or subsidies in formalization programs for certain groups might be needed given the interaction between improved livelihoods and tenure reforms and gender gaps. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Nepal
Creator:
International Land Coalition
Year:
2014

Women and access to land and credit: discussions and key findings of the African Gender Development Index in Selected African Countries

Full citation: UNECA. (2007). “Women and access to land and credit: discussions and key findings of the African Gender Development Index in Selected African Countries,” June 2007, p.17. - In 2004, the African Centre for Gender and Social Development (ACGSD) launched AGDI, which provides a holistic perspective to gender (in)equality in Africa, consisting of three main areas: economic, social and political. This paper recommends that countries develop innovative strategies to address women’s equal access to land and credit directly and firmly in the economic policies. While countries have been active in developing gender policies, the approach does not have a long-term impact or maximum outreach if women’s access to resources is addressed in policies that target women only. Therefore, comprehensive mainstreaming strategies for inclusion of women need to be developed. In the case of land rights, despite the fact that much has been done already, women’s access to and control over land remains extremely low. This clearly indicates that the existing systems are not working to the full capacity or that they are not working at all. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
UNECA
Year:
2007

Women, Land and Law in Vietnam

Full citation: Alvarado, G. et al. (2015). “Women, Land and Law in Vietnam.” ICRW.

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Vietnam
Creator:
Multiple Contributing Authors
Year:
2015

Gender and Land: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Four Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Funded Land Projects

Full citation: Giovarelli, R., Hannay, L., Scalise, E., Richardson, A., Seitz, V. and Gaynor, R. (2015). “Gender and Land: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Four Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Funded Land Projects.” Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights. - This paper looks at four MCC projects that involved titling land in Benin, Lesotho, Mali, and Namibia and how they ensured women’s rights to land were recognized. It finds that it is important to consider both formal and customary laws and provides examples of both; that it is important to identify all property rights holders, regardless of the overarching objectives of the project; that communication, education, and training activities are vital; and that donors play a key role in ensuring gender is considered in land documentation projects. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Mali, Benin, Lesotho, Namibia
Creator:
Giovarelli, R., Hannay, L., Scalise, E., Richardson, A., Seitz, V. and Gaynor, R.
Year:
2015

Women’s land rights and gender justice in land governance: pillars in the promotion and protection of women’s human rights in rural areas

Full citation: International Land Coalition. (2013). “Women’s land rights and gender justice in land governance: pillars in the promotion and protection of women’s human rights in rural areas.” Synthesis of contributions by members, partners and individual experts in the International Land Coalition’s network to the e-consultation facilitated by GI-ESCR and IWRAW-AP. - While this document covers all categories of threats, the greatest emphasis is on “pervasive patriarchy, which creates legal, political and economic limitations to the advancement of women. Across the developing world, rural women suffer widespread gender-based discrimination in laws, customs and practices causing severe inequalities in their ability to access, control, own and use land and limiting their participation in decision-making at all levels of land governance. This synthesis of submissions resulting from a consultation, to which 19 members, partners and individual experts from the International Land Coalition’s network responded, highlights the threats to women’s legal and customary land rights. Contributors to the consultation emphasized the need to achieve de facto equality, the diversity of rural women and tenure, as well as the importance of women’s participation in land governance. The synthesis closes with specific recommendations to the CEDAW Committee to reaffirm women’s land rights as a fundamental human rights issue for rural women. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
International Land Coalition
Year:
2013

Realizing women's rights to land and other productive resources

Full citation: OHCHR and UNWOMEN. (2013). “Realizing women's rights to land and other productive resources.” - This piece identifies barriers to women’s access to, use of and control over land and other productive resources as primarily being inadequate legal standards and/or ineffective implementation at national and local levels, as well as discriminatory cultural attitudes and practices at the institutional and community level. The publication provides guidance to support the adoption and effective implementation of laws, policies, and programs to respect, protect, and fulfill women’s rights to land and other productive resources, including an overview of international and regional legal and policy instruments recognizing women’s rights to land and other productive resources, and ways of advancing a human rights-based approach to women’s rights to land and other productive resources. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
OHCHR and UNWOMEN
Year:
2013

Providing Farmland Ownership Rights to Women in Rural Mali: the MCC Experience

Full citation: Rolfes, L. and Seitz, V. (2013). “Providing Farmland Ownership Rights to Women in Rural Mali: the MCC Experience.” Washington, DC: World Bank Annual Conference on Land and Poverty. - This paper examines the Alatona Irrigation Project in Mali, which converted almost 5,000 hectares of Sahel scrubland into high-value irrigated farmland. One of the project’s key components was its land allocation activity, through which the irrigated land was transferred from the state to beneficiary families, with a particular focus on ensuring women had access to and control over land. This paper is a short history of project design and implementation, and how the Alatona Irrigation Project developed and executed an approach for allocating land rights to women, the results achieved and the lessons learned. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Mali
Creator:
Rolfes, L. and Seitz, V
Year:
2013

Land Tenure Rights for Women Under Customary Law

Full citation: Benbih, K. and Katz, J. (2014). “Land Tenure Rights for Women Under Customary Law.” - This paper highlights women’s rights issues in accessing land under dual systems. The goal is to make the knowledge resulting from the use of a platform, such as the Global Housing Policy Indicators (GHI), accessible on an open source to all land specialists, NGOs, policy makers, governmental agencies, as well as a global audience, including women around the world. The cases presented illustrate various difficulties to secure land tenure for women. The GHI assessment tool finds first hand evidence of the discrepancies between constitutional laws that are mostly gender neutral and the set of unspoken social norms or customary laws that discriminate against women, by way of practices restricting women’s ability to own, inherit or individually use land. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Armenia, Colombia, Indonesia, Uganda
Creator:
Benbih, K. and Katz, J.
Year:
2014

Improving Land Tenure Security for Women: A Starting with Women Approach

A Starting with Women Toolkit - Full citation: Hannay, L., & Scalise, E. (2014). “Improving Land Tenure Security for Women: A Starting with Women Approach.” - This paper discusses a pragmatic, adaptive framework and approach for understanding and taking action to strengthen women’s land tenure security in the context of customary tenure in northern Uganda. The project team developed a Women’s Land Rights Framework (“Framework”), which provided a specific definition of secure land rights. The Framework defines secure land rights in terms of five elements, which each serves as the basis for distinct, measurable indicators upon which to base the project assessment, design, and evaluation. This paper presents the Framework and suggests its potential as an analytical foundation for assessing the security of land rights, for designing projects or developing policies that protect and strengthen women’s land rights, and for evaluating the effectiveness of such policies or projects.
[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Hannay, L., and Scalise, E.
Year:
2014

Gender, assets, and market-oriented agriculture: learning from high-value crop and livestock projects in Africa and Asia

Full citation: Quisumbing, A.R., Rubin, D., Manfre, C., Waithanji, E., van den Bold, M., Olney, D., Johnson, N., et al. (2015). “Gender, assets, and market-oriented agriculture: learning from high-value crop and livestock projects in Africa and Asia.” Agriculture and Human Values. - This paper explores changes in gender relations and women’s assets in four agricultural interventions that promoted high value agriculture with different degrees of market-orientation. It finds that while projects can successfully involve women and increase production, income, and the stock of household assets, generally men’s incomes increased more than women’s and the gender-asset gap did not decrease. Some threats were gender- and asset-based barriers to participation in projects and gender norms that limit women’s ability to accumulate and retain control over assets (including land). Other targeted support to women farmers may also be needed to promote their acquisition of the physical assets required to expand production or enter other nodes of the value chain. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Multiple Contributing Authors
Year:
2015

Property Rights and Productivity: The Case of Joint Land Titling in Vietnam

Full citation: Newman, C., Tarp, F., and Broek, K. (2015). “Property Rights and Productivity: The Case of Joint Land Titling in Vietnam.” Vol.91(1), pp.91-105. - This paper explores the effect of land titling on agricultural productivity in Vietnam and the productivity effects of single versus joint titling for spouses. The results show that obtaining a land title is associated with higher yields, for both individually and jointly held titles. The study concludes that there is no tradeoff between joint titling and productivity, and so joint titles are potentially an effective way to improve women’s bargaining power within the household with no associated efficiency losses.

[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Vietnam
Creator:
Newman, C., Tarp, F., and Broek, K.
Year:
2015

Hindu Women's Property Rights in India: A Critical Appraisal

Full citation: Patel, R. (2006). “Hindu Women's Property Rights in India: A Critical Appraisal.” Third World Quarterly, 27(7), 1255–1268. - This paper looks at changes in Hindu women’s position regarding property rights, and argues that rights conferred through law must be analyzed in light of their contexts (cultural, historical, etc.) to determine their practical legitimacy. It addresses the need to critically define the bases and contours of 'rights' as created by law. Taking the example of changes in Hindu women’s position in relation to property through the rights generated by statutory and constitutional provisions, the article critically evaluates the potential for such a 'rights regime' to enable Hindu women's greater access to property. It argues that the idea underlying a particular claim, its legitimacy and therefore effectiveness within a legal framework must be critically evaluated. The legitimacy of claims presumptively conferred within a legal framework must be interrogated in the light of legal, historical, political and cultural contexts. Such a contextual and critical analysis is crucial for effective protection of rights claims through law. To the extent that legal regimes reflect and substantiate wider social relations, their potential for bringing about substantive change in the lives of women can only be realized through ongoing critical analyses of gender, law and society.
[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
India
Creator:
Patel, R.
Year:
2006

The gender asset gap: land in Latin America

Full citation: Deere, C. and Leon, M. (2003). “The gender asset gap: land in Latin America.” World Development, 31 (6), pp 925-947. - The gender asset gap in Latin America with respect to ownership of land is significant. In few countries do women constitute even one-quarter of the landowners. Gender inequality in land ownership is related to male preference in inheritance, male privilege in marriage, male bias in community and state programs of land distribution as well as gender bias in the land market, with women less likely than men to be successful buyers. But there are also important differences by gender in how land is acquired. Inheritance is the primary means by which most women become landowners; men are much more likely than women to acquire land through its distribution by communities or the state and via the market. Factors contributing toward a trend toward greater gender equity in land inheritance and in recent state programs are highlighted.
[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Deere, C. and Leon, M.
Year:
2003

Property Rights and Women’s Accumulation of Assets Over the Life Cycle: Patrimonial Violence in Ecuador

Full citation: Deere, Carmen Diana, Jackeline Contreras and Jennifer Twyman. 2010. Property Rights and Women’s Accumulation of Assets Over the Life Cycle: Patrimonial Violence in Ecuador. ALASRU Nueva época. Análisis latinoamericana del medio rural, No. 5, 2010: 135-176. - This study looks at the recognition of women’s property rights in practice in Ecuador. One finding is that women may accumulate property in two ways, as individual property and as community property. While individual property, generally acquired through an inheritance, provides a fall back position, community property in marriage or unions has special benefits. Joint property compensates women for their work and provides security. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Ecuador
Creator:
Deere, C. D., Contreras, J. and Twyman, J.
Year:
2010

Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda

Full citation: Ali, D.A., Deininger, K., and Goldstein, M. (2014). “Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda.” Journal of Development Economics, vol. 110, 2014, 262-275. - This paper evaluates the short-term impact (approximately 2.5 years after completion) of Rwanda’s land tenure regularization pilots. The findings included, land tenure regularization improved land access for legally married women and prompted better recordation of inheritance rights without gender bias; and for female-headed households, specifically, regularization had a very large impact on investment and maintenance of soil conservation measures. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Rwanda
Creator:
Ali, D.A., Deininger, K., and Goldstein, M.
Year:
2014

Innovations in land rights recognition, administration, and governance

Full citation: Deininger, K., Augustinus, C., Enemark, S., and Munro-Faure, P. (Eds.) (2010). “Innovations in land rights recognition, administration, and governance.” World Bank Publications. - This paper brings together a variety of studies on land rights. Chapter 4 in particular focuses on efforts to improve tenure security. One study in India examines whether changes in inheritance legislation impact the socioeconomic status of females, and found that when daughters were granted coparcenary birthrights in joint family property denied to daughters in the past, the amendment significantly increased the probability of females inheriting land. However, even after the passage of the amendment, significant bias against females persists. Another study in Ethiopia assesses the effects on the allocative efficiency of the land rental market of the low-cost approach to land registration and certification of restricted property rights that were implemented in Ethiopia from the late 1990s. Four rounds of balanced household panel data collected from 16 villages in northern Ethiopia are used. After controlling for endogeneity of land certification and unobserved household heterogeneity affecting land market participation, it was found that land certification enhanced land rental market participation of female landlord households. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Ethiopia, India
Creator:
Deininger, K., Augustinus, C., Enemark, S., and Munro-Faure, P.
Year:
2010

Women's land rights and social movements in the Brazilian agrarian reform

Full citation: Deere, C.D. (2003). “Women's land rights and social movements in the Brazilian agrarian reform.” Journal of Agrarian Change, 3 (1-2), pp 257-288. - This article examines the evolution of the demand for women's land rights in the Brazilian agrarian reform. Most of the credit for raising the issue of women's land rights rests with women within the rural unions, as a by–product of the effort to end discrimination against women in all its dimensions. The achievement of formal equality in land rights did not lead to increases in the share of female beneficiaries of the reform, which remained low in the mid–1990s. This was largely because securing women's land rights in practice was not a top priority of any of the rural social movements. Moreover, the main social movement determining the pace of the agrarian reform, the landless movement, considered class and gender issues to be incompatible. By the late 1990s, however, there was growing awareness that failure to recognize women's land rights was prejudicial to the development and consolidation of the agrarian reform settlements and thus the movement. The growing consensus among all the rural social movements of the importance of securing women's land rights, coupled with effective lobbying, encouraged the State in 2001 to adopt specific mechanisms for the inclusion of women in the agrarian reform. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Brazil
Creator:
Deere, C.D.
Year:
2003

Who Owns the Land? Perspectives from Rural Ugandans and Implications for Large-Scale Land Acquisitions

Full citation: Doss, C., Meinzen-Dick, R., and Bomuhangi, A. (2014). “Who Owns the Land? Perspectives from Rural Ugandans and Implications for Large-Scale Land Acquisitions.” Feminist Economics, 20(1), 76-100. - This article is based on a 2008–09 study of land tenure in Uganda. It analyzes how different definitions of land ownership – including household reports, existence of ownership documents, and rights over the land – provide very different indications of the gendered patterns of land ownership and rights. While many households report husbands and wives as joint owners of the land, women are less likely to be listed on ownership documents, and have fewer rights. A simplistic focus on “title” to land misses much of the reality regarding land tenure and could have an adverse impact on women’s land rights [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Uganda
Creator:
Doss, C., Meinzen-Dick, R., and Bomuhangi, A.
Year:
2014

Cocoa, Marriage, Labour, and Land in Ghana: Some Matrilineal and Patrilineal Perspectives

Full citation: Duncan, B.A. (2010). “Cocoa, Marriage, Labour, and Land in Ghana: Some Matrilineal and Patrilineal Perspectives.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 80 (2), 301–21. - Based on field research conducted between April 2006 and November 2007 in four matrilineal and two patrilineal communities located in the Brong Ahafo, Western and Volta regions, the study sets out important changes taking place within the institutions of marriage, land tenure and conjugal labour relations, within the cocoa production sector. Many scholars have documented systems of land exchange between husbands and wives for services rendered within the context of cocoa farming. This study shows that new and previously undocumented forms of informal conjugal unions may be coming into existence in the context of cocoa production, and these new arrangements provide much less land tenure security for women.

In the matrilineal communities especially, formal marriage arrangements appear to be an exception rather than the prevailing norm. Contract marriages, popular in the western region, are essentially seasonal arrangements made between men and women particularly during the cocoa harvesting season, which lasts for a period of three to six months, after which the relationship is either renewed or terminated. No land is exchanged in a contract marriage. Consensual unions are not as secure as formal marriages, but are a step toward formal marriage. In one case, the Ghanaian court said women in such relationships were entitled to a one-third share of cocoa land which they had assisted their partners to develop. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Ghana
Creator:
Duncan, B.A.
Year:
2010