04-04: Legal and normative aspects of making law gender sensitive
Land and womanhood- ethnography on propertied women in Bengal
Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Germany
This paper argues the tentativeness rather than the inevitability of the established knowledge that possessing land titles empowers women by placing them in a stronger position of better bargaining power within the home and community that is characterized by discrimination and intra-household inequalities. Based on ethnographic data in rural west Bengal this paper captures the nuances of women’s subjecthood as shaped by their socio-cultural existence as well as their ‘purposive actions’ shaping their life situations. I address the particularity of women’s experience of poverty and their specific locations as subjects in relation to property and livelihood. A gendered analysis of land in a certain social context, therefore, requires critical consideration of diverse social relations of women in distinctive subject positions, tracing the historical trajectory of her subjectivities along life courses, the kinship and familial relations they involve and ideological and juridical pattern of inheritance in which land has particular significations.
"Innovations to protect women’s customary land rights: Practical experiences from Sierra Leone."
1Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Sierra Leone; 2Lafayette University, USA; 3Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Italy
Since the end of the conflict in 2002, Sierra Leone has made significant progress in rebuilding its economy. However, these gains have not sufficiently translated into an equal distribution of development dividends for the population, and particularly women. As the government considers feasible NLP implementation strategies, priorities have been set to ensure rural women and men in the provinces are able to negotiate women’s rights and access in order to overcome prejudicial cultural practices.
Within the framework of implementing the VGGT, Sierra Leone is piloting Solutions for Open Land Administration (SOLA) geospatial tools for recording and mapping women’s land rights to ensure that rural women are able to negotiate their rights of access, use, and ownership of land. This paper presents the findings from nine villages in three chiefdoms in Sierra Leone. The findings are significant in influencing the call for innovative fit-for-purpose solutions for land administration in Sierra Leone.
The farmer and her husband: legal innovations for women in contract farming
Contract farming is increasingly seen as a promising alternative business model to the negative impacts associated with large scale land-based investments. This is because contract farming leaves the farmer in control of their own land while potentially providing them with a steady, predictable income, and helping them access higher quality inputs such as seed, fertilizer and technical assistance. However, contract farming schemes tend to be dominated by better-off male farmers and have very poor gender outcomes. The research points to two key disadvantages for women farmers; doing most of the work but not being included in the contract, and having their subsistence farming activities displaced by contracted crops.
This paper proposes innovative legislative and contractual solutions to be applied to contract farming relationships in order to address these disadvantages and better protect women, and provides model legal drafting that can be adopted and adapted by policy-makers and contracting parties.