oa Alternation - Rural women's relations to land resources in KwaZulu-Natal: issues of access and control

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Gender, socially constructed relationships between men and women, is a critically important concept that shapes the experiences of specific groups in society as well as the distribution and access of resources among these groups. The question of who gets access to and controls land resources is often highly political and gendered. In rural Africa, studies have shown that access to land resources is critical to food production as well as household stability and continuity. The majority of the rural poor in South Africa are women and children. Additionally, a significant proportion of rural households are headed by females. This article provides a gendered analysis of African rural women's relations to the environment, drawing from fieldwork conducted in rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The primary concern of this article is on women and land. This includes aspects of land rights and land use practices as well as an interest in environmental resources. The focus is on aspects of land that are potentially useful to household and communities such as water, place for shelter, land quality, wood, wild foods, gardens and medicinal plants.

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