Karin Steen has studied the relationship between men, women, land and labour from a gender perspective. Women do not really have a right to land, but through marriage they can gain access to a garden plot where they can grow vegetables for their family and to sell.
The men do have control over the women’s labour, but the pieces of land have given the women a certain degree of financial independence. However, the already uneven power relations between men and women are worsening: a shortage of land has meant that a woman’s proportion of the family’s total land has shrunk dramatically. Women’s independence has thus been reduced, as well as the opportunities for them to work to support their family by alternative means.
“In Zimbabwe, access to land is intimately linked with male identity”, says Karin Steen. “It is a highly political issue and a lot of time is now spent on land disputes with neighbours instead of food production.”
The region which Karin Steen has studied is called Chiweshe. It is one of many ‘communal areas’, where African peasant farmers were gathered together to make room for the colonial settlers. Still today, 80 per cent of Zimbabwe’s subsistence farmers farm 40 per cent of the country’s arable land, which lies within these areas.
The shortage of land was remedied to a certain extent in the early 2000s when peasant farmers occupied large-scale commercial farms belonging to white farmers. However, ownership of the occupied farms is still unclear, which means that many peasant farmers do not dare to leave their old plots of land, despite the fact that they are too small.
Karin Steen explains that the shortage of land has also had other, indirect consequences. Combined with the influence of ideas on gender equality from the cities, the shortage of land has meant that opposition to polygamy has increased:
“Women are less able to provide for their children if the land has to stretch to another family”, says Karin Steen.
Many peasant farmers, both men and women, have also started to recognise that polygamous marriage leads to a lot of conflicts within the family.
After her PhD, Karin Steen will continue to study how gender affects production and food security in developing countries.
“There is a lot of research being done on gender and agriculture, but there is a lack of studies that examine in detail how power is expressed in the relationship between men and women and how this in turn affects food production.”
Karin Steen’s thesis is entitled Time to farm. A qualitative inquiry into the dynamics of the gender regime of land and labour rights in subsistence farming: an example from the Chiweshe communal area, Zimbabwe.
It was presented at LUCSUS – the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.
Karin Steen can be contacted by telephone, +46 46 222 80 83, or by email, Karin.Steen@lucsus.lu.se
Megan Grindlay | idw
Giving a chip about masa
18.07.2019 | American Society of Agronomy
Global farming trends threaten food security
11.07.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Augsburg chemists and physicists report how they have succeeded in the extremely difficult separation of hydrogen and deuterium in a gas mixture.
Thanks to the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology developed here and already widely used, the University of Augsburg is internationally recognized as the...
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
23.07.2019 | Life Sciences
23.07.2019 | Life Sciences
23.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy