An analysis of women’s control and ownership of land according to marxist and socialist perspectives :a case of Mpumalanga Province

21 May 2019

Studies indicate that even though women play a vital role in food production all over the world, ensuring food security for all, very few women however own and control the land they cultivate. Instead of owning land, women only have use rights to land which are insecure since use rights can be terminated at any given time. This desk top paper analyses women’s access to land to land with specific reference to the Marxist and Socialist perspectives on feminism. The Marxist perspective is based on the capitalist class of employer – employee exploitation. According to Marxist perspective women then find themselves as servants for men especially because they do unpaid work both in the home and on cultivated land and as such they are seen as servants on men and servants cannot own and control the land belonging to their employers. The Socialist perspective puts more emphasis on women’s position of subordination to men in society. According to this perspective, women’s roles are defined along the lines of motherhood, domestic workers and child rearing which also has an impact on their ownership and control of land. The study focuses on women and land in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. The study is anchored on feminism theory which argues that women are oppressed and exploited in society and as such do not enjoy the same rights and privileges enjoyed by men. The unequal relationship contributes to the skewed land ownership. Using data on the extensive literature written on women and land, and also using the available data from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, this paper explored women’s access, ownership and control of land in Mpumalanga Province. The study concludes that even though there is a plethora of treaties and legislation advocating for women’s ownership of land, still very few women own land. Of all the provinces in South Africa, Mpumalanga as a province seems to be doing better in women’s land ownership.