No land left for women: Property rights in Baltistan (central Karakoram) (2009)

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Land ownership is an important protection against poverty in rural areas all over the world. It defines both social status and political power in a village and it structures relationships within and outside the household. Land ownership can thus be of crucial importance in promoting the empowerment of women. However, command over property in general and land in particular between men and women is extremely unequal in most parts of the world. The academic discourse concerning gender and land rights distinguishes four broad categories and interconnected arguments explaining why women need independent rights to arable land: welfare, efficiency, equality and empowerment. This paper aims to examine property distribution, the formal concept of property rights and its customary practice within the context of gender-related differences in Baltistan, a region located in the high mountains of the Central Karakoram and politically part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Baltistan’s population speaks an archaic Tibetan dialect and most people belong to the Twelver Shia sect. The question primarily addressed is to what degree property distribution and decisionmaking power are related to gender roles.
Year: 2009
Language: English
In: Mountain Forum Bulletin January 2009 vol IX Issue 1,

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