The Gaps in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in Addressing the Discrimination Against Peasant Women in Their Access to and Control of Resources

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NOT REAPING THE BENEFITS:
The Gaps in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in Addressing the Discrimination Against Peasant Women in their Access to and Control of Resources ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. Agrarian Reform and the Peasant Woman

A. Introduction

Despite the recognition of various laws on the roles and contributions of women in rural development, it seems that women in the Philippine agricultural sector remain economically poor, unrecognized, and underrepresented. In broad strokes, there are two reasons for this: first, the policies are lacking or at least silent on rural women, and second, where the laws recognize women’s rights and welfare, the implementation of these policies is usually lacking. Hence, twelve years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (BPA), the observation appears the same, “the plight of women living in rural and remote areas deserves special attention given the stagnation of development in such areas.”

Focusing on the case of peasant women in agrarian reform, this paper aims to discuss the compliance of Philippine laws with international human rights instruments. Specifically, the query that this paper wishes to answer is, “how do the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) comply with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in regard to the recognition, protection, and enforcement of peasant women’s rights?” The objective of this paper is to review, analyze, and thereupon submit recommendations on improving the domestic legal and policy environment affecting peasant women so these could meet the terms of international human rights instruments and thus improve the plight of rural women in the country. In conducting the research, this paper uses three data gathering methods: document review, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions.

This paper is divided into seven main parts. The introduction provides an overview of the document including a discussion of the situation of peasant women in agrarian reform, a short discussion of the experiences of KAISAHAN, a member of the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) and the agrarian reform-based institution that developed this paper. The second part includes s description of the parameters of the research, particularly the following: Problem, Objectives, Significance of the Study, Scope and Limitations, Data Gathering Methodologies, and the Research Population. The third part briefly enumerates provisions of the CEDAW and CARL, relevant to Access to and Control of Resources. The fourth is a review of selected related literature. The fifth is a discussion of government efforts at addressing women’s concerns. The sixth to ninth sections discuss the gaps in the CARL and its implementation with respect to the three relevant rights of rural women: equal rights to ownership of land, access to support services, and representation in decision-making bodies. The last part is a discussion of other areas of concern, specifically the lack of gender-disaggregated data and Violence Against Women and Children.

B. The situation of peasant women in agrarian reform
“On a sectoral basis, many women are involved in staple food production. Most (37.36 percent) of the women in agriculture belong to the rice sector and 26.81 percent to the corn sector. The rest belong to other sectors, i.e. 13.22 percent to other crops and the services sector, 11.79 percent to the livestock sector, 6.75 percent to the coconut sector, 1.97 percent to the banana sector; and 0.15 percent to the hunting and forestry sector.”

In general, rural women are unemployed. In a comparative CARP impact study across two decades, it was noted that the modal primary occupation of the female spouses in their 1990 survey was housekeeping. This accounted...
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