Tanzania and Mozambique — countries of vast mountain ranges and open stretches of plateaus — now face a growing land problem. As soil degradation, climate change and population growth place enormous strains on the natural resources that sustain millions of people, multinational companies are also gunning for large swaths of land across both countries. Caught between these pressures, many poor, rural communities get displaced or decide to sell their collectively held land. While they almost always get the short end of the stick in commercial land deals, women struggle more than men to rebuild their lives and livelihoods when villages resettle.
A Fair Share for Women: Toward More Equitable Land Compensation and Resettlement in Tanzania and Mozambique finds that, despite constitutional commitments to gender equality, governments in Tanzania and Mozambique are not protecting poor, rural women from harmful commercial land deals. State officials’ failure to close gaps in land laws and overhaul ineffective regulations shortchanges women who receive little to no payment for their families’ land. Attempts to amplify women’s voices in community land decision-making are also falling short. But advancing women’s land rights, from equal treatment in commercial land deals to better representation in community decision-making, is critical to achieving gender equality not just in Tanzania and Mozambique, but also in countries across Africa. This working paper provides recommendations that government officials, private sector leads and civil society can adopt to improve gender equity in commercial land acquisitions.
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