Effects of Macro-Economic Factors on Women's Formal Land Ownership Status in Cameroon

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Cameroon, Economic development, GDP per capita, Gender inequality, GNI per capita, Land, Women in development

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The problem of gender inequality in formal land ownership in Africa is often attributed to African indigenous culture. Deviating from convention, this study considers the problem to be a function of macroeconomic factors. Empirical data were drawn from Cameroon. Multiple regression analyses involving natural logarithm and commensurate statistics were employed to analyze the data. Gender inequality, the dependent variable, was operationalized as the percentage of land titles issued to men minus the percentage issued to women. Two macroeconomic indicators, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita gross national income (GNI), comprised the predictor variables. A strong inverse relation between the dependent and predictor variables was hypothesized. Multiple tests validated all but one of the hypotheses. This revelation suggests that economic growth-promoting strategies can lead to the evaporation of gender-based gaps in access to land. The revelation is consistent with neoclassical theories that consider economic development a viable tool for improving the status of women. A positive relation between per capita GNI and gender inequality, conflicting with the hypothesized link, was found. This implies a need to redistribute the fruits of development in order to, inter alia, narrow the gender-based discrepancies in access to land.

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Women's Studies International Forum, v. 63, p. 1-10