A Field of One's Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, 1994 - Business & Economics - 572 pages
This is the first major study of gender and property in South Asia. In a pioneering and comprehensive analysis Bina Agarwal argues that the single most important economic factor affecting women's situation is the gender gap in command over property. In rural South Asia, the most significant form of property is arable land, a critical determinant of economic well-being, social status, and empowerment. But few women own land; fewer control it. Drawing on a vast range of interdisciplinary sources and her own field research, and tracing regional variations across five countries, the author investigates the complex barriers to women's land ownership and control, and how they might be overcome. The book makes significant and original contributions to theory and policy concerning land reforms, 'bargaining' and gender relations, women's status, and the nature of resistance.
 

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very good book giving the knowledge about womens conition and rights in indian regional countries . the starting lines make me very sentimental..............

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This book has almost covered all the remarkable points of women's rights to land.The author is demanding for those rights on land for women as it will help in uprooting their rights and making them dominant in nature rather than being more docile and submissive.

Contents

Land rights for women making the case
1
I The backdrop
2
some conceptual links
11
1 Household property and womens property
12
2 The significance of land as property
17
3 What do we mean by rights in land?
19
4 Prospects for nonlandbased livelihoods
24
III Why do women need independent rights in land?
27
preemptive steps to direct violence
271
4 Responses of village bodies and government officials
276
women claim inheritance shares in some traditionally patrilineal communities
282
IV A look at traditionally matrilineal and bilateral communities
285
V Some hypotheses
291
Whose land? Who commands? The gap between ownership and control
292
II Control over the transfer and use of land
294
III Barriers to women selfmanaging land
298

2 The efficiency argument
33
3 The equality and empowerment arguments
38
IV Questions addressed information base and the books structure
45
Conceptualizing gender relations
51
I Gender relations within the householdfamily
53
1 The bargaining approach
54
2 What determines intrafamily bargaining power?
60
the market the community and the State
71
the householdfamily the community and the State
80
Customary rights and associated practices
82
I Which communities customarily recognized womens rights in land?
83
II Womens land rights in traditionally matrilineal and bilateral communities
100
The Garos Khasis and Lalungs
101
The Nayars Tiyyars Bants Mappilas Nangudi Vellalars and others
109
The Sinhalese Hindu Tamils and matrilineal Muslims
120
4 Some crossregional comparisons
132
III Womens land rights structural conditionalities and gender relations
133
2 Land rights and gender relations
146
Erosion and disinheritance traditionally matrilineal and bilateral communities
153
I India
154
2 The Nayars of central Kerala
168
3 Matriliny and development
179
II Sri Lanka
180
III In conclusion
192
Appendix 41 A marriage proposal among the Christian Garos
194
Contemporary laws contestation and content
198
I India
199
2 Anomalies resulting from existing land legislation
215
3 Laws governing Christians and Parsis in India
223
II Pakistan Bangladesh and Muslims in India
227
2 Devolution under Islamic law
233
III Sri Lanka
237
IV Nepal
242
V Summary comments on womens legal rights in landed property in South Asia
246
Whose share? Who claims? The gap between law and practice
249
II Barriers to women inheriting land in traditionally patrilineal communities
260
2 The necessity of male mediation
268
village exogamy and patrilocality
311
Tracing crossregional diversities
316
I Some hypotheses
317
II Information sources
321
III The crossregional patterns
325
2 Closekin marriages especially between crosscousins
336
3 Purdah practices
344
4 Sexual control over women
345
5 Rural female labour force participation rates
355
6 Rural female literacy rates
358
7 Total fertility rates
359
8 Land scarcity
361
IV An overview of regional patterns
368
Struggles over resources struggles over meanings
421
I On womens consciousness and individual resistance
422
struggles over privatized land
438
2 The Telangana snuggle
441
3 The Bodhgaya struggle
444
claiming rights in public land
454
IV Further observations on gender construction and group contestation
458
The long march ahead
467
I Recapitulation
468
II Some suggestions some dilemmas
478
2 Dowry v inheritance
480
3 Establishing de facto inheritance rights in land
483
4 Strengthening land claims through channels other than inheritance
486
5 Exploring joint management and promoting infrastructural support
488
6 Building group support among and for women
490
III The macroscenario
493
2 Bargaining with the State
496
3 Increasing womens presence in public decisionmaking forums
499
4 Some recent developments and the road ahead
502
Definitions
505
Glossary
507
References
510
Index
553
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