DEMETER team members Kristina Lanz and Elisabeth Prügl have published a new article in the Journal of Peasant Studies. The article examines the adoption of feminist ideas by neoliberal agricultural actors working through public-private partnerships and in agribusiness. Rhetorically committed to gender equality, these new development actors have reduced equality to a matter of numbers, seeking to include women in their projects while disregarding the intersectionally gendered power relations that suffuse any development context. The article illustrates how such power relations inhabit business-led development projects. Based on ethnographic research of a ‘best practice’ large-scale land investment in Ghana’s Volta Region, the authors argue that a narrow focus on including women and superficial Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) promises fail to address intersectional inequalities because they pay inadequate attention to local institutions for resource management and the power relations they embed. Focusing on gender equality without regard to local institutions at best serves to empower a few well-connected women and at worst acts as a cover-up of highly exploitative practices.

Kristina Lanz, Elisabeth Prügl and Jean-David Gerber. 2019. The poverty of neoliberalized feminism: gender equality in a ‘best practice’ large-scale land investment in Ghana. The Journal of Peasant Studies. DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2019.1602525