Women’s right to land is a critical factor in determining social status, economic wellbeing and empowerment. Their right to property is unequal to those of men in many African countries, and their right to own, inherit, manage and dispose of property is under constant attack from customs, laws and individuals. Institutions that ought to affirm this right and guarantee them secure tenure remain constrained by outdated laws inimical to the principles of gender equity. The emerging regime on land reform in Africa, largely directed by the World Bank and bilateral donors has now peaked at its financialization,1 creating further constraints on accessibility of land to women. Across the Southern African Development Community (SADC), particularly prominent is the demand to deal with the skewed patterns of land ownership against women, including extensive privatization of land and foreign appropriation. Although widely regarded as a shared concern, arriving at a common organizing principle among SADC member states grappling with land reform issues is, however, a complex endeavour, stemming from diverse colonial legacies, often contradictory post-colonial development trajectories, and varied political and economic interests and views to globalization. Southern African women have proactively engaged states and the international community at all these junctures, asserting their right to participation and inclusion as full citizens in various reform projects, including land reform. Moreover, the women’s movement and specifically feminist concerns encompass significant issues within the land reform discourse despite a decidedly tenuous relationship between states and women’s movements across the continent. Using Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique as examples, and laying emphasis on rural economies, the aim of this chapter is to discursively examine the manifestations in law, culture, policy and globalization of contemporary land reform issues in the SADC, and to critique from a feminist perspective the prospects, if any, of unifying interests among SADC countries with regards to a gender-equitable land reform process. I shall argue that far from the benefits that are claimed to accrue

limitations in fact result in the opposite, further circumscribing women’s enjoyment of full citizenship.