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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.

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  • 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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    3. 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.
    4. Deschênes, Sarah & Dumas, Christelle & Lambert, Sylvie, 2020. "Household resources and individual strategies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
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    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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).
    11. Novak Colwell, Julia M. & Axelrod, Mark & Salim, Shyam S. & Velvizhi, S., 2017. "A Gendered Analysis of Fisherfolk’s Livelihood Adaptation and Coping Responses in the Face of a Seasonal Fishing Ban in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 325-337.
    12. 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.
    13. 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).
    14. Haider, Hamza & Smale, Melinda & Theriault, Veronique, 2018. "Intensification and intrahousehold decisions: Fertilizer adoption in Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 310-320.
    15. 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.
    16. Mara José Montenegro Guerra & Sandeep Mohapatra & Brent Swallow, 2019. "What influence do empowered women have? Land and the reality of women’s relative power in Peru," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1225-1255, December.
    17. 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).
    18. Michalscheck, Mirja & Groot, Jeroen C.J. & Fischer, Gundula & Tittonell, Pablo, 2020. "Land use decisions: By whom and to whose benefit? A serious game to uncover dynamics in farm land allocation at household level in Northern Ghana," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    19. 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.
    20. 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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