The Development Hypothesis of Women Empowerment in the Millennium Development Goals Tested in the Context Women’s Access to Land in Africa

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Access to land, Africa, Economic development, Gender inequality, Land, Women in development

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An important hypothesis implicit in the third of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is tested in this study. The hypothesis is that women empowerment can facilitate attainment of other development goals. Africa is the empirical referent and people’s access to land constitutes the substantive focus. A multiple regression model having as its dependent variable, gender-based inequality in access to land (GENDINEQ) is employed. Indicators of women empowerment—women’s literacy, proportion of women with a secondary education, proportion of women with formal employment, and women in government—as stipulated in Goal #3 of the MDGs constitute the predictor variables. All but one variable, women’s literacy, are negatively associated with GENDINEQ. This affirms the hypothesized inverse relationship between women’s empowerment and gender inequality in access to land. The exception is not statistically significant and might have occurred by chance. Thus, authorities in Africa would do well to pursue gender empowerment policies as a means of increasing women’s access to land and other valuable resources.

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Social Indicators Research, v. 128, issue 1, p. 89-104