Passive, Victims or Unintended Misrepresentation?

  •  Fidel C. T. Budy    


Sustainable development efforts to mitigate the challenges that women face in the midst of land grabbing could be significantly undermined or they could fail to address the concerns of rural African women if they are not driven by the everyday lived experiences of rural African women. Evidence suggests that current accounts of how rural African women experience land grabbing oversimplify the homogeneity of their experiences, depicting them as entirely passive and victims who lack the agency to react to the loss of their land. Addressing this gap in our appreciation of the impact of land grabbing on rural African women is significant to ensure equal access to land and secure tenure rights for women actually work. To this end, there are some in the literature that have, and continue to challenge the depiction of rural African women as entirely passive and victims, lacking agency. This paper builds on those studies to expand the parameter of inquiry by bringing fresh perspectives to the debate from Senjeh District in Liberia. Utilising data collected through qualitative semi-structured interviews in the district over a period of four months, this paper argues that there is a divergence between the well held notions by the literature and experts on the one hand and, women in Senjeh on the other hand. The paper also argues that rural women in Senjeh District exhibited various agency in multiple ways against the loss of their land to Sime Darby.

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