Land and Women: The Matrilineal Factor
The cases of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu
by Kristina E. Stege, Ruth Maetala, Anna Naupa & Joel Simo. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Elise Huffer, Editor (2008)

Introduction

“The women here are so sure of themselves… maybe it’s that we know for sure that we have land…Even if I don’t get land from my husband, I still have it from my mother and nothing can change that…”— (Palauan woman [no name given], cited in Margold and Bellorado, 197?)

This report brings together three studies on matrilineal land tenure carried out in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The respective authors, Kristina Stege, Anna Naupa and Joel Simo, and Ruth Maetala, conducted their research in at least two areas in each country – including one urban and one rural – with the overall objective of providing a better understanding of the current status of women in relation to land tenure, land management and
access to land in matrilineal areas.

This work is aimed at contributing a gendered perspective to the current regional focus on land issues and reform, particularly initiatives such as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Land Management and Conflict Minimization for Peace, Prosperity and Sustainable Development project (LMCM) and AusAID’s Pacific Land Program. It is also designed to provide updated, accessible
and locally derived information and recommendations for national land policy and legislative changes currently taking place in the three focal countries.

Submitted by Letecia Layson
Full text accessed 5/31/2009

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