C’est avec plaisir que nous accueillons notre blogueuse invitée, Philippine Sutz. Outre à nous avoir aidé à traduire notre Cadre Conceptuel, Philippine est basée à Londres où elle travaille en tant que ‘Senior Researcher’ auprès de l’International Institute for Environment and Development. Ses domaines de recherche principaux sont l’émancipation des femmes et l’accès des femmes au foncier.
Le Consortium de Recherche, par Resource Equity, vient de publier la version française de ‘Sécurité Foncière des Femmes : un Cadre Conceptuel. Ce document, co-écrit par Cheryl Doss et Ruth Meinzen-Dick, est le premier outil du genre permettant une analyse systématique et cohérente de l’ensemble des facteurs pouvant influencer la sécurité foncière des femmes et à fournir des définitions et concepts communs.
La sécurité foncière est un moyen pour les femmes de pérenniser leurs moyens de subsistance et de contribuer au bien-être de leurs familles et de leurs communautés. Aujourd’hui, un nombre toujours plus important d’organisations entreprennent des études et interventions visant à renforcer la sécurité foncière des femmes. Ceci est une excellente nouvelle ! Cependant, il peut être parfois difficile de tirer des enseignements généraux de ces interventions – et donc de les appliquer ailleurs par la suite – dans la mesure où les éléments clés du contexte ne sont pas toujours clairement identifiés. Les concepts auxquels ces études font référence tels que ‘sécurité foncière’ ou ‘droits fonciers’ ne sont également pas toujours explicitement définis, ce qui peut prêter à confusion.
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.
Talking with female miners in Uganda recently, I learned how the lives of women who live in rural areas are impacted by so many different factors beyond their control—climate, weather, health, men, local markets, outside investors and speculators, laws, and government programs. These women, facing insecurity in their rights and their lives, must be resilient and inventive to survive.
In Mubende, for example, women were traveling great distances with their partners, their children, and their belongings to do petty trading in a gold rush town, offering local beer and food to the small scale miners that flooded the area in their thousands to benefit from the minerals in the soil. However, they were soon evicted, along with their families, by the landowners who had made a deal with a mining company giving them exclusive rights.
In Busiya, women were panning for gold where the takings were so slight that the landholders did not mind when the women came with their “pans,” because they knew that it would be no threat to their profit. Though these women were thankful for the gold because it allowed them to pay for school fees and clothing for their children, it came at a price. Some lost their rights to use land for cultivation because once gold was found their husbands, who were customary land owners, believed the potential of a lucrative gold find to have more value than what the women were earning by selling produces. To strengthen their rights, these women formed an association so that they could try to pool their funds and their labor to try to get by financially.
There were also the women who were from the semi-nomadic Karamoja region who were leading teams of laborers to break marble and limestone and fill huge trucks. They fed the workers, gave them refreshments, took care of their children, made deals with the buyers, and negotiated with truck drivers. Then these same women had to navigate a home situation in order to try and retain a share of their earnings from mining so they could pay for their family’s food, schooling, and healthcare.
We’ve written on the links between land, gender, and extractives and we have written about the importance of land rights for rural women who rely on agriculture to survive and meet their responsibilities as a mother, wife, sister, or head of household. In all of this, it can be easy to lose sight of the industry, the strategic thinking, the endurance, and strength that rural women draw from every day to make their life work. As shown elsewhere, there is no one story for rural women; perhaps the greatest tribute we can make to rural women every day is to truly recognize their ability to overcome endless obstacles and their daily struggles, and to learn from them.
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. But when the family breaks down—because of divorce, death, abuse, or even polygamy—women often are the ones who are forced to leave, taking nothing with them. In much of the rural world, when women marry, they move to their husband’s home and land. And because land is often the most important asset for a rural household, women who lose their right to use land lose much more than just the land.
This is what I have heard in 15 countries, which is valuable information, but rather broad and not that useful for policy making or program design. But the just published Prindex report now confirms this information with systematic data from their first wave of data collection in 15 countries (10 from Sub-Saharan Africa, four from Latin America and one— Thailand—from Southeast Asia). Prindex collects robust data on people’s perceptions of their property rights. Only two of the 15 countries where I have worked overlap with the 15 countries in the Prindex report, and Prindex collects data in both rural and urban areas, but this first report provides us with some useful data regarding women and men’s perception of their land tenure security in the event of two major family events—divorce and death.