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Policy reform toward gender equality in Ethiopia: Little by little the egg begins to walk

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  • Kumar, Neha
  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.

Abstract

There is growing interest in the role of policy reforms to promote gender equality and empower women, two key objectives of development policy. From a policy perspective, it would be ideal for reforms undertaken in different policy areas to be consistent, so that they reinforce each other in improving gender equity. We use data from the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS) to show 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 for mutually reinforcing gender-sensitive reforms. Our analysis confirms previous studies’ findings of gender gaps in awareness and information about the land registration process. Male-headed households are, on average, more likely to have heard about the process, to have attended meetings (and a greater number of meetings), and to have received some written material with information about the process. Having female members in the Land Administration Committee (LAC) has a positive impact on attendance at meetings relating to land registration. In our analysis of the changes in the family law, we find that awareness about the land registration process is positively correlated with the shift in perceptions toward equal division of land and livestock upon divorce. The presence of female members in the LAC also has a positive effect on the shift in perceptions toward a more equal division of assets upon divorce. Taken together, these findings suggest that the land registration process and the reform of the Family Code may have mutually reinforcing effects on women’s rights and welfare. While this example is obviously rooted in the Ethiopian context, it raises the possibility that similar reform efforts may be complementary in other countries as well.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1226.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1226

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Keywords: Gender; Reforms; land registration; Family code; Land policy; Land ownership; Land rights; Land tenure; Land titling; Women; Household survey;

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  1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes, 2005. "Assets at marriage in rural Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 1-25, June.
  2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  3. Deininger, Klaus & Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Holden, Stein & Zevenbergen, Jaap, 2008. "Rural Land Certification in Ethiopia: Process, Initial Impact, and Implications for Other African Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1786-1812, October.
  4. Pramila Krishnan & Stefan Dercon, 1997. "In sickness and in health ... risk-sharing within households in rural Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  5. Holden, Stein T. & Deininger, Klaus & Ghebru, Hosaena, 2007. "Impact of Land Certification on Land Rental Market Participation in Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia," MPRA Paper 5211, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
  7. Smith, Lisa C. & Ramakrishnan, Usha & Ndiaye, Aida & Haddad, Lawrence James & Martorell, Reynaldo, 2003. "The importance of women's status for child nutrition in developing countries:," Research reports 131, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Marcel Fafchamps & Bereket Kebede & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2009. "Intrahousehold Welfare in Rural Ethiopia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(4), pages 567-599, 08.
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Cited by:
  1. Deininger, Klaus, 2010. "Towards sustainable systems of land administration: Recent evidence and challenges for Africa," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(1), September.
  2. Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Gajigo, Ousman, 2013. "Strengthening economic rights and women's occupational choice : the impact of reforming Ethiopia's family law," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6695, The World Bank.
  3. Kumar, Neha & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2012. "Beyond “Death Do Us Part”: The Long-Term Implications of Divorce Perceptions on Women’s Well-Being and Child Schooling in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 2478-2489.
  4. Woldu, Thomas & Tadesse, Fanaye & Waller, Marie-Katherine, 2013. "Women’s participation in agricultural cooperatives in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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