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A Woman's Field Is Made At Night: Gendered Land Rights And Norms In Burkina Faso

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  • Michael Kevane
  • Leslie Gray

Abstract

Gendered social norms and institutions are important determinants of agricultural activities in southwestern Burkina Faso. This paper argues that gendered land tenure, in particular, has effects on equity and efficiency. The usual view of women as holders of secondary, or indirect, rights to land must be supplemented by a more nuanced understanding of tenure. Women's rights are in fact considerably more complex than the simple right to fields from their husbands. First, women's rights to property obtained from men may be coupled with other rights and obligations. In many ethnic groups, women have share rights to the harvest of their husbands. Second, despite land scarcity and rises in land value certain types of rights are strengthening. Specifically, women are more and more able to obtain land through the market. Finally, government intervention in the gendering of tenure seems to have eroded women's individual rights to land even when government projects explicitly try to incorporate women as "partners" in land-use programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kevane & Leslie Gray, 1999. "A Woman's Field Is Made At Night: Gendered Land Rights And Norms In Burkina Faso," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 1-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:5:y:1999:i:3:p:1-26
    DOI: 10.1080/135457099337789
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bezabih, Mintewab & Holden, Stein, 2010. "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gender Gaps in Productivity in Rural Ethiopia," Discussion Papers dp-10-23-efd, Resources For the Future.
    2. Nanama, Siméon & Frongillo, Edward A., 2012. "Altered social cohesion and adverse psychological experiences with chronic food insecurity in the non-market economy and complex households of Burkina Faso," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 444-451.
    3. M. Fafchamps & A. R. Quisumbing, 2002. "Control and Ownership of Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(6), pages 47-82.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:325-337 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:wdevel:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:310-320 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Akpalu, Wisdom & Bezabih, Mintewab, 2014. "Tenure insecurity, climate variability, and renting-out decisions among female small-holder farmers in Ethiopia," WIDER Working Paper Series 140, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. repec:taf:jdevst:v:52:y:2016:i:3:p:360-376 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Lambrecht, Isabel Brigitte, 2016. "“As a Husband I Will Love, Lead, and Provide.” Gendered Access to Land in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 188-200.
    9. Richard Akresh & Joyce J. Chen & Charity T. Moore, 2016. "Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(4), pages 661-696.
    10. Deininger, Klaus & Castagnini, Raffaella, 2006. "Incidence and impact of land conflict in Uganda," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 321-345, July.
    11. Mintewab Bezabih & Stein Holden & Andrea Mannberg, 2016. "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gaps in Productivity between Male- and Female-Owned Farms in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(3), pages 360-376, March.
    12. Allendorf, Keera, 2007. "Do Women's Land Rights Promote Empowerment and Child Health in Nepal?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 1975-1988, November.
    13. Peterman, Amber & Quisumbing, Agnes & Behrman, Julia & Nkonya, Ephraim, 2010. "Understanding gender differences in agricultural productivity in Uganda and Nigeria," IFPRI discussion papers 1003, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    14. Nanama, Siméon & Frongillo, Edward A., 2012. "Women’s rank modifies the relationship between household and women’s food insecurity in complex households in northern Burkina Faso," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 217-225.
    15. Lorenzo Cotula, 2006. "Water Rights, Poverty and Inequality: The Case of Dryland Africa," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2006-02, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    16. Nikièma, Béatrice & Haddad, Slim & Potvin, Louise, 2008. "Women Bargaining to Seek Healthcare: Norms, Domestic Practices, and Implications in Rural Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 608-624, April.
    17. Theriault, Veronique & Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza, 2017. "How Does Gender Affect Sustainable Intensification of Cereal Production in the West African Sahel? Evidence from Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 177-191.
    18. Dassanayake, Wijaya & Luckert, Martin K. & Mohapatra, Sandeep, 2015. "Heterogeneity of household structures and income: Evidence from Zimbabwe and South Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 668-692.

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    Keywords

    Land; Africa; Gender; Women; Burkina Faso;

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