chapter  4
17 Pages

Mexican Agricultural Development Policy and Its Impact on Rural Women

WithLourdes Arizpe, Carlota Botey

An increasing number of studies have focused on rural women's participation in production and reproduction. Few of these studies, however, have explored the relationship between women's participation and state agrarian policy. Nevertheless, women's participation is directly affected by changes in the productive structure induced by agrarian policy. Land redistribution began in 1915 but did not gather momentum until 1934 when President Lazaro Cardenas' administration foresaw the development implications of collectively held property and community organization. Although almost half of the land in Mexico is now collectively owned, its development potential is limited because only 11.8 percent of this total area is suitable for cultivation and only an additional 2.2 percent has access to irrigation. The new agrarian problem centers on the uneasy balance between the two main agricultural sectors, one based on social property and the other on capitalist private property.