The Lives of Animals Research Group

The Lives of Animals Research Group

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CATTLE (Bos primigenius)



Cattle (Bos primigenius) have long been the most privileged animal in Botswana. They constitute a major form of Tswana social status, economic wealth and political power; they are drivers of land-use patterns and decision-making at household, regional and national scales. Erin MacIver-Must joined our research team as a doctoral student in 2012.

Erin's project explores women's associations with and access to cattle in contemporary Batswana society where cattle have traditionally been associated with and accessed by men. Erin conducted fieldwork in and around Maun from March through August 2014 and recently returned to Botswana (July 2015) to conduct a knowledge mobilization workshop for research participants. The workshop focused on linking women cattle farmers and government stakeholders, with particular emphasis on empowering women through learned strategies for proactive cattle healthcare, information dissemination, and peer networking opportunities.

Erin's research is generously supported by a Vanier Scholarship, an IDRC Doctoral Research Award and a research permit from the Ministry of Agriculture. We are fortunate to collaborate with Andrea Petitt, a doctoral student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences whose work focuses on women cattleowners in Ghanzi and Charleshill. Andrea conducted fieldwork from May through December 2013 and is currently analyzing and writing up the results.


Must, Erin, and Alice J. Hovorka. 2017. 'What's in a name?' Implications of Women's Cattle Ownership for Transformative Gender Mainstreaming in Botswana. Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. 2(3):84-105.


MacIver-Must, Erin. 2015. Knowledge Mobilization Workshop for Female Cattle-Owners in Northern Botswana. Workshop held at the Nhabe Museum in Maun, Botswana. July 2015.

MacIver-Must, Erin. 2015. Women and Cattle in Botswana. Poster presented at the AAG Annual Meeting, Chicago USA. April 2015.

MacIver-Must, Erin. 2015. What's in a Name?' Relationships between Women and Cattle in Northern Botswana. Paper presented at the Minding Animals 3 Conference, New Delhi India. January 2015.