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Title:Access to and control over land as gendered: contextualising women's access and ownership rights of land in rural Ghana
Author:Dery, Isaac
Year:2015
Periodical:Africanus (ISSN 0304-615X)
Volume:45
Issue:2
Pages:28-48
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:land tenure
landownership
women
Link:http://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC190093
Abstract:Women's access to and control over productive resources, including land, have increasingly been recognised in global discussions as a key factor in reducing poverty, ensuring food security and promoting gender equality. Indeed, this argument has been widely accepted by both feminists and development theorists since the 1980s. Based on qualitative research with 50 purposively selected men and women in Ghana's Upper West region, this study explored the complexity of women's access to and control over land within a specific relationship of contestations, negotiations, and manipulations with men. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. While theoretically, participants showed that women's [secure] access to and control over land have beneficial consequences for women themselves, households and the community at large, in principle, women's access and control status was premised in the traditional framework, which largely deprives women of equal access and/or control over the land. The article indicates that even though land is the most revered resource and indeed, the dominant source of income for the rural poor, especially women, gender-erected discrimination and exclusion are key barriers that prevent many rural women from accessing land. This article argues that women's weak access rights and control over land continues to perpetuate the feminisation of gender inequality - while men were reported to possess primary access and control over land as the heads of households, women were argued to have secondary rights due to their 'stranger statuses' in their husbands' families. Overall, the degree of access to land among women was reported to be situated within two broad contexts - marriage and inheritance. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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