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Gender Relations in the Democratization Process: An Analysis of Agrarian Policies in Africa

  • Yassine Fall


This paper is an attempt to link women’s empowerment in the democratization process and the sexual division of labour and resources in land management. Following the introduction, section two will assess the scope of women producers’ participation in the agrarian sector. Section three will analyze traditional land management systems. The impact of land reforms on women’s access to land is examined in section four. Finally, the conclusion will stress the need to create the legal and political climate that will allow the emergence of a more balanced land policy as a first step towards sustainable democratization.

Women’s potential contributions in rural development, particularly in food production, have been extensively documented.



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1. Kandiyoti, Deniz, “Women and Rural Development Policies: The Changing Agenda,” Development and Change, vol. 21, 1990, London: Sage .

2. See Fall, Yassine, “Diagnostic de l’Environnement dans la Zone de Velingara, Haute Casamance, Senegal, Participation de la Femme dans la Gestion Integree des Terroirs Villageois. F.A.O, Dakar, 1993 and Zuidberg, Lida and Fall, Yassine, “Etude de l’Impact du Projet Bas-Fonds sur la Position des Femmes dans le Secteur de Cosse, Bafata, Guinée Bissau,” Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, 1994 .

3. Wamalwa, Betty Nafuna, Indigenous Knowledge and Natural Resources, Acts Press, Nairobi, 1989 .

4. Kishindo, Paul, “Women Land and Agriculture in Lesotho,” Eastern Social Science Research Review, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 2232, 1992 .

5. Wamalwa, 1989.

6. Rocheleau, Diane E., “Women, Trees and Tenure: Implications for Agroforestry Research and Development,” in Raintree, John B. (ed.), Land, Trees and Tenure, Land Tenure Center, ICRAF: Madison, Nairobi, 1987 .

7. Chavangi, Noel A., “Agroforestry Potentials and Land Tenure Issues in Western Kenya,” in Raintree, John B. (ed.), Land, Trees and Tenure, Land Tenure Center, ICRAF: Madison, Nairobi, 1987 .

8. Bradley, Philip N. , Woodfuel, Women and Woodlots, vol. 1, London: MacMillian, 1991 .

9. Hesseling, Gerti, “Le Foncier et la Gestion des Ressources Naturelles en Afrique Sud-Saharienne,” ISE/LTC, Mbour, Senegal, 1992 .

10. Fall, 1993.

11. Rochleau, 1987.

12. Juma, Celestous, “Environment and Economie Policy in Kenya,” African Center for Technological Studies, Nairobi, 1989 .

* Yassine Fall is an economist from Senegal. She is the Co-Founder of Partnership for African Development, an African NGO working on research, capacity building, development communications and advocacy for Economic Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ms. Fall is also Ag. Executive Secretary of the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD) and the Africa Coordinator for the “Women’s Eyes on the World Bank “ campaign.


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