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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kumar, Neha & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2012. "Policy reform toward gender equality in Ethiopia: Little by little the egg begins to walk," IFPRI discussion papers 1226, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1226
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Gajigo, Ousman, 2015. "Strengthening Economic Rights and Women’s Occupational Choice: The Impact of Reforming Ethiopia’s Family Law," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 260-273.
    2. Arturo Aguilar & Eliana Carranza & Markus Goldstein & Talip Kilic & Gbemisola Oseni, 2015. "Decomposition of gender differentials in agricultural productivity in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 311-334, May.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Kumar, Neha, 2014. "Land rights knowledge and conservation in rural Ethiopia: Mind the gender gap:," IFPRI discussion papers 1386, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Independent Evaluation Group, 2014. "Social Safety Nets and Gender : Learning from Impact Evaluations and World Bank Projects," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21365.
    7. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Berhane, Guush & Minten, Bart & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2015. "Agricultural growth in Ethiopia (2004-2014): Evidence and drivers:," ESSP working papers 81, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. 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.
    9. Bhattarai, Basundhara & Beilin, Ruth & Ford, Rebecca, 2015. "Gender, Agrobiodiversity, and Climate Change: A Study of Adaptation Practices in the Nepal Himalayas," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 122-132.

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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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