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Gender, land reform and welfare outcomes : a case study of Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe

This thesis explores questions of gender equality in social welfare theory; methodologies;
approaches and policymaking in the Global South in the context of land reforms. This stems
from the realisation that gender equality issues in social welfare are increasingly receiving
greater attention in the context of the Global North and less in the South. By adopting a
Transformative Social Policy framework, the research departs from hegemonic livelihoods,
poverty reduction and the ‘classical models’ of land reforms often designed from the mould
of the neoliberal discourse of individual tenure to focus on land reform as a relational
question. Empirical data was gathered using a sequential explanatory mixed-methods
approach involving survey questionnaires; in-depths interviews; focus group discussions; key
informant interviews and field observations. A total of 105 randomly selected households,
comprising 56 male-headed households (MHHs) and 49 female-headed households (FHHs)
participated in the quantitative component of the study, comprising a control group of nonland
reform beneficiaries. Additionally, 30 purposively selected in-depths interviews
comprising 20 FHHs and 10 MHHs were conducted in resettlement study sites. Findings
from this this study indicates that despite the country’s depressed economic environment and
the effects of climate change, transfer of land enhanced the productive capacities of
individuals and rural households, including those headed by females. At micro-level, in-kind
transfer of land to rural households proved to be a more superior social protection measure
compared to either food or cash transfer. However, social relations and institutions proved
resistant to change, posing a greater obstacle to social transformation. And more importantly,
from a social reproductive perspective, the same land reform that enhanced the productive
capacities of women, inadvertently, increased their social reproductive work with
implications on the welfare of women relative to men. The thesis makes a contribution to
social policy debates in Africa, which hitherto have been dominated by the introduction of
cash transfers as witnessed in many countries across the continent. The transformative social
policy approach brings novelty to the study of land reforms. By Conceptualising gender as a
relational and social construct, the study adds knowledge on the nexus between gender, land
reform and welfare using the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) as reference.
With the FTLRP––as a leftist policy in a liberalised economy––there is a need for the government to re-align its social and economic policies to avoid inconsistencies in the
country’s development path. On the gender front there is need to legislate resettlement areas
as outside the jurisdiction of traditional structures; promulgate statutory instruments dealing
with land and setting up designated land claims courts linked right up to the Constitutional
Court. Specifically, for Chiredzi, there is a need to establish a corporate body to administer
the affairs of Mkwasine following the pulling out of the Estate.
Keywords: gender, land reforms, water reforms, transformative / Sociology / Ph. D. (Sociology)
Date23 February 2021
CreatorsTekwa, Newman
ContributorsAdesina, Jimi O.
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
Format1 online resource (xx, 394 leaves) : illustrations (some color), color map, color graph, application/pdf

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