Main content area

Masculinity, men and patriarchal issues aside: How do women’s actions impede women’s access to land? Matters arising from a peri-rural community in Nigeria

Chigbu, Uchendu Eugene
Land use policy 2019 v.81 pp. 39-48
gender, interviews, issues and policy, land tenure, men, women, Nigeria
There have been many contributions to the understanding of how gender functions impede women’s access to land. However, particular frameworks concerning how women contribute to their lack of access to land have been widely ignored. This study investigates the frames that hinder women’s access to land due to (in)actions of women, in a peri-rural community in Nigeria. It is a qualitative study based on data from e-Focus Group Discussions with international researchers on gender and land; and key informants’ interviews with local women. The study argues that women do contribute to their lack of access to land by some of their actions or inactions. It questions the role women play in their land tenure status in customary land tenure. The study approaches its subject by problematising women’s land access beyond the concept of patriarchy and investigating how women’s lack of access to land is reinforced by not just men, but by women. The study reveals that even though in many instances patriarchy and customary laws play a significant role in women’s lack of access to land, there are cases where women contribute to their lack of access to land. Among other factors, it identifies ‘Brother complex’ and ‘self-hurt’ issues as some of the structures emanating from women which hinder their smooth access to land. The study is important and presents a useful initiative that can inform policies aimed at strengthening women’s land tenure. It contributes to a radical transformative agenda towards women’s access to land.