There is not just one story for rural women—whether they are farmers, miners, mothers, or daughters. On October 15th it was the International Day of Rural Women, a day to reflect on the diversity of rural women, and to shine a spotlight on women who are part of the agrarian community.
I have talked to women in at least 15 countries—in their homes, their gardens, their fields, their pastures, their universities, their community organizations, their government and executive offices, and their courtrooms. When asked about rural women’s land use or rights or ownership or livelihood, the thing that usually stands out to me is that most women say, in one form or another, that rural women are generally able to use land, and sometimes even control land, when they are in an intact family.
“Land for me is life.”
“It is everything, it is health, food security, and dignity.”
“It is life, overcoming adversity, and land security.”
“[Land for me is…] achievement and sustainability.”
“It is our home, where we raise our children, and where we preserve our culture.” – What does land mean for you? (2015)
In June 2018, SciTech Europa travelled to Brussels, Belgium, to attend the 2018 instalment of European Development Days (EDD) as the event’s media partner. Organised by the European Commission, EDD brings the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
Beji Caid Essebsi says the measure was a long time coming but some are sceptical about the proposal's motivations.
In Zimbabwe, Transparency International has been working extensively on land governance issues, and what has emerged is that women are often coerced to engage in sexual acts with a male person in authority in order to have access to land. Land is a form of property and a source of livelihood for most people in Zimbabwe. Both men and women find themselves one way or another being coerced to engage in corruption, mostly bribery to own a piece of land both in the urban and rural/communal areas. However, women are often subjected to sextortion in the quest to own land.
Twenty years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about the power of land and inheritance rights to affirm the status and contributions of women. My father-in-law, then 80 years old, was dividing his land to his children. In doing so, he made a decision that was unusual for a man in Kenya– he gave a piece of land to me, his daughter-in-law. He had come to believe that it was only just to affirm the role that women play in contributing to the household and caring for aging parents.
In the fading afternoon light, Kou Berpa leads a small group out to a patch of land a short distance off of the main road in Ganta, Liberia.
The land is strewn with rocks and dried vegetation. The jagged remains of a tree stump consume one corner. It’s easy to miss the green shoots scattered across the grounds – the beginnings of a crop of corn that Kou has planted.
Reflections on an old Mongolian saying
At a recent gender training session in Mongolia, a middle-aged man used the old Mongolian saying that “a woman has long hair and a short brain” when we asked participants to name some of the main characteristics of women and men. I was glad that he was corrected by a much older man, who pointed out that the saying relates to traditional gender roles that are already very different from what they were just a few years ago.
Few people dispute the transformational impact of the “green revolution” in agriculture that eradicated famine in countries from Mexico to India just over 50 years ago. But as gains in agricultural production have again begun to slow, there are calls for a second green revolution to meet the growing food security needs of the planet.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent unprecedented and increasing global recognition of land rights—especially women’s land rights. Leaders across the globe have included three land-specific sex-disaggregated indicators:
The Land Portal Foundation, Mokoro Ltd and Transparency International co-hosted an interactive webinar on sextortion in land governance and its implications on June 25th, 2018. The webinar featured an interactive discussion among expert panelists. Scroll below to read our interview with Annette Jaitner of Transparency International. She gives us insights into the matter and what sextortion means for land governance.
1) Why did Transparency International recently decide to run a webinar on the topic of sextortion? Why on the Land Portal?