Summaries This article argues that the goals of social justice, poverty alleviation and gender equality within the post?apartheid government’s land reform programme are threatened by government’s neo?liberal macroeconomic framework, by shortcomings in addressing gender and because rural women do not constitute an organised social force. The article outlines the key elements of the land reform programme and points to limitations arising from the market?based nature of the land reform programme. The article highlights innovative mechanisms within the programme aimed at involving women in land reform. These include the requirements of women’s participation in land reform pilot programme structures and of gender equality within group ownership entities – the ‘Community Property Associations’. However, the overall approach is to target women without adequately considering gender power relations. The article suggests that while the state can play a significant role in providing an enabling framework, the key to advancing gender equality is women’s organisation.