Title: When 'property cannot own property': women's lack of property rights in Cameroon

Authors: Ngambouk Vitalis Pemunta

Addresses: Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Växjö, 351 95, Sweden

Abstract: In most of Africa, women constitute the majority of small holder farmers. They are overwhelmingly involved in food production on land leased to them or acquired through family bonds or purchase. This paper examines how the institution of customary marriage connives with Cameroon's gender neutral statutory land tenure legislation to deprive women of access to land. Additionally, the bureaucratic land registration procedure, the gendering of the land tenure legislation, the skewing of the Land Consultative Board in men's favour and farmer/grazer conflicts further undermine women's land rights. To ensure women's collective wellbeing and socioeconomic progress, gender-sensitive, rather than gender-neutral policies are recommended.

Keywords: women's rights; land rights; small holder farming; farmer-grazer conflicts; gender; socio-economic development; female rights; property rights; Cameroon; farmers; grazers; customary marriage; land tenure legislation; grazing; gender-sensitive policies; gender-neutral policies.

DOI: 10.1504/AJESD.2017.082808

African Journal of Economic and Sustainable Development, 2017 Vol.6 No.1, pp.67 - 85

Received: 30 Mar 2016
Accepted: 29 Aug 2016

Published online: 12 Mar 2017 *

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