Women, International Development, and Politics: The Bureaucratic Mire

By Kathleen Staudt | Go to book overview

11/Tough Row to Hoe: Women in Nicaragua's Agricultural Cooperatives

Rural Women's Research Team Center for the Investigation and Study of Agrarian Reform (CIERA)

One of the unique aspects of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua is that its Agrarian Reform Law of 1981 is the first in Latin America to explicitly include women as beneficiaries. In contrast to the situation in other Latin American agrarian reforms, in Nicaragua neither sex nor kinship position is a barrier to becoming an agrarian reform beneficiary. Moreover, one of the objectives of cooperative development is the incorporation of women.

Agrarian reforms in most Latin American countries over the past several decades have benefited only men. Rural women have not been taken into account partly because they are not considered to be agricultural producers or full-time wage workers, and partly because it is often assumed that benefits for household heads--usually men--will be benefits for all household members as well. The result has been that where land has been redistributed to formerly landless households, only male heads of households have received land in their own names. Although women may farm alongside their husbands as unpaid family labor, they have no legal right to the land. If divorced or separated, they again join the ranks of Latin America's landless. Where governments have promoted production cooperatives

____________________
This is a condensed version of a monograph, Tough Row to Hoe, published by the institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in San Francisco, to whom we are grateful for permission to reprint. The Institute for Food and Development Policy is a nonprofit research and educational center that focuses on food and justice issues around the world. Founders Frances Moore Lappé (author of Diet for a Small Planet) and Joseph Collins, along with institute staff, have played a key role in changing global debates about the causes of and solutions for world hunger. The institute accepts no contributions from government sources, enabling it to carry out independent research and dissemination.

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