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2015 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

7. Gender, Land Tenure, and Disasters in the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

Authors: Carol Yong, Frans R. Siahaan, Andreas Burghofer

Published in: Gender and Land Tenure in the Context of Disaster in Asia

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

This case study discusses the many challenges faced by the Mentawai people of Indonesia who are increasingly suffering the consequences of unsustainable development and complex natural and human-made disasters. A brief review of the rich biodiversity and natural resources of Mentawai Islands contextualizes the discussion that follows, namely the different threats to lands, forests and natural resources the Mentawai people find themselves grappling with. This chapter identifies a link between gender, natural resource, land tenure, and disaster and argues that nuances around gender and other categories are inadequately addressed or ignored. We focus particularly on three issues: first, locating Mentawai women’s inheritance rights within the Mentawaian patrilineal social structures and customs that circumscribe women’s rights to land and other property; second, the connection between women’s land tenure and gender differential disaster damages and recovery process; and the third, how gendered land rights/tenure interrelate with the difference of loss and suffering of women and men in Mentawai society and how development agendas and interventions construct vulnerability of women and men differently.
Footnotes
1
Special thanks are due to Yayasan Citra Mandiri (YCM), Puailiggoubat and the Mentawai people for sharing their stories and experiences with us during the field visits, and for allowing us to write about them. We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers who commented on draft versions of this case study.
 
2
The Indonesia archipelago is itself located on the ‘ring of fire’ making it one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world.
 
3
The aim of the two field visits was principally for the external evaluation of the YCM, using an integrated approach and methods to collect both qualitative and quantitative data in Mentawai villages over several weeks. It should be clear that the evaluation was not for this publication. With permission from YCM and Puailliggobat, we adapted some of the information collected during the field visits for this chapter, and we give special thanks to them and their funder.
 
4
The Mentawaians, like other Indonesians, were only allowed to adopt one of five official religions: Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. Most Mentawaians are Protestant; Catholicism ranks second, followed by Islam.
 
5
One high profile corruption case in the sector involved the former regent and the former head of the forestry department, who were sentenced to 4 and 5 years in prison, respectively.
 
6
This information is drawn from the external evaluation of YCM unrelated to this case study, and we thank YCM for allowing us to include this.
 
7
However, we need to point out that this information was obtained exclusively from discussions with local Mentawai women in Siberut, and supported by the YCM field staffs. We suggest that further research is required, and more comprehensively, in order to identity such special arrangements for Mentawai women to access land and land use through cultivation of specific crops.
 
8
More research is needed to explain gender processes operating at local levels in the household and in communities affected by market-based options of land use.
 
9
“Struggle against logging goes on in Mentawai,” in: Down to Earth, No. 68 (February 2006); at: http://​www.​downtoearth-indonesia.​org/​story/​struggle-against-logging-goes-mentawai.
 
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Metadata
Title
Gender, Land Tenure, and Disasters in the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Authors
Carol Yong
Frans R. Siahaan
Andreas Burghofer
Copyright Year
2015
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16616-2_7