by Petronella Munemo, Joseph Manzvera, and Innocent Agbelie
Mainstream scholarly debates on land ownership in Zimbabwe have long focused on racial and political divides, highlighting, in particular, the injustice and marginalisation of the black majority Zimbabweans against the white minority. For an equally long period, women’s rights to land ownership were limited by the land reforms of the 1980s and 1990s, and the periods before when women could only access lands through their male kin. Given the recently implemented Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP), the researchers wondered to what extent women participated in the programme as well as the extent to which they benefited or failed to benefit from the FTLRP. Motivated by how fast the value of land is appreciating, especially in the peri-urban areas, and how much women and their households could benefit if they owned lands, the researchers carried out a review of over 60 peer-reviewed articles, books, and technical publications to explore answers to these questions. The analysis revealed that women had very limited land ownership rights in the periods preceding the FTLRP, but that land ownership increased marginally to over 15% of women beneficiaries since the FTLRP.
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