SECURING RIGHTS AND LIVELIHOODS FOR RURAL WOMEN IN THE CONTEXT OF CORPORATE LAND
INVESTMENTS: LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCES IN AFRICA.
Nidhi Tandon and Marc Wegerif
Oxfam and Networked Intelligence for Development, Canada
Paper prepared for presentation at the
“ANNUAL WORLD BANK CONFERENCE ON LAND AND POVERTY”
The World Bank - Washington DC, April 8-11, 2013
Evidence from field research on large scale land deals in three African countries confirms that most rural women are net losers as corporate agro-investments intensify. While corporations might claim a triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental outcomes, those who are unable to negotiate their rights and choices in this equation, and those who are essentially invisible at the negotiation table, are de facto losing out. The impacts on rural women are especially profound because they underpin much of the local food economy. Undermining women‟s status is a direct violation of their rights and is counter-productive to a vibrant rural society.
Corporate land deals further entrench a cultivation model that marginalizes women's interests. Limited social capital prevents women from countering the negative impacts of corporate land deals, making it extremely difficult to ensure that they benefit from public and private investments in agriculture.
Strong interventions, led by rural women themselves and supported by civil society organisations and governments, are needed to advance the position of women in: international frameworks; national policies; and at local levels. Otherwise, corporate land deals will continue to perpetuate and deepen existing gender inequalities and contribute to increased levels of resource scarcity, poverty and conflict.