Women, Land, and Empowerment Dynamics in Egypt’s Mubarak Resettlement Scheme
Literature and development practice related to women’s access to land reveals two main assumptions: one, that the land is empowering for women and, two, that this empowerment is inherently linked to independence for women from their households. We use a feminist political ecology approach to highlight the significance of multiple factors (biophysical, economical, government policies, gender norms and kinship context and their temporal variations) in shaping women’s experiences with land access. We examine cases of women provided with land in Egypt through the Mubarak Resettlement Scheme in two regions which differ markedly in these factors to showcase their importance for women’s empowerment. The Egyptian cases illustrate that land access can be detrimental to women. We argue for a more relational approach to women’s empowerment through land access which considers multiple forms of disadvantage and has strategic life choices at its heart. Joint titles seem to be a promising route in the respective areas.