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

  • Michael Kevane
  • Leslie Gray

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.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 1-26

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:5:y:1999:i:3:p:1-26
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  1. Ram, Rati & Singh, Ram D., 1988. "Farm households in rural Burkina Faso: Some evidence on allocative and direct return to schooling, and male-female labor productivity differentials," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 419-424, March.
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  7. Brasselle, Anne-Sophie & Gaspart, Frederic & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2002. "Land tenure security and investment incentives: puzzling evidence from Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-418, April.
  8. Smith, Lisa C. & Chavas, Jean-Paul, 1999. "Supply response of West African agricultural households," FCND discussion papers 69, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Simon Batterbury, 1998. "Local environmental management, land degradation and the 'gestion des terroirs' approach in West Africa: policies and pitfalls," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(7), pages 871-898.
  10. von Braun, Joachim & Webb, Patrick J R, 1989. "The Impact of New Crop Technology on the Agricultural Division of Labor in a West African Setting," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(3), pages 513-34, April.
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