Simon Griffee

Gender and Land Rights

18 March 2014 · 1 minute read

I have been asked to write about gender and land rights.

Humans need space to live and grow food and yet half of them are not given equal access to and ownership of land. This half are women. But why is the word ‘gender’ being used to describe them?

I myself as well as most people I talk to — social scientists excluded — think the word ‘gender’ means ‘sex’ in the biological sense. In web work I usually see this in the form of a web form title preceding two radio buttons:

Sex

Or:

Gender

When the word ‘gender’ is used to describe women’s place in a sex-based social structure, I believe it muddies the message that it is women who need equal land rights. By using the word gender the focus is taken away from where it should be: women.

Women’s Land Rights — has a nice ring to it, no?

Thanks to Amber Paulen for reading drafts of this.

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