Foreword to Women’s Rights to Land & Privatization in Eastern Africa

November 2008
Robin Palmer (Mokoro)

An exciting new collection inspired by a 2003 Oxfam/FAO workshop in Pretoria. Foreword briefly looks at the struggle for women’s land rights across the globe and the lack of concrete gains. Women have been confronted by resistance and patriarchy. Many land reform programmes over the past 60 years were falsely premised on notions of a unitary household. Women were disadvantaged by the codification of customary law in colonial Africa and are now by privatization in a context exacerbated by the coming of HIV and AIDS, which is breaking down notions of reciprocity. To confront these difficult, sensitive issues requires mobilisation and collective action, awareness raising of rights, addressing gender seriously in all land reform initiatives, political and legal will, and the kind of detailed, local level research so ably represented in this fine, new and well-edited collection from Eastern Africa.

Foreword to Birgit Englert & Elizabeth Daley eds, Women’s Land Rights and Privatization in Eastern Africa (Oxford: James Currey, November 2008)