A century has passed since women in Undivided India, now divided into several countries of South Asia, demanded equal rights in property — especially land, the most important means of production in developing economies. The struggle continued after Independence. Today, the resultant legal reforms have given a vast majority of women legal equality with men in India, and their rights in neighbouring countries—Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh―have also increased.
However, have changes in the law improved women’s situation in practice? Have they closed the gender gap in actual land ownership and trumped restrictive social norms and customs? If not, is there a way forward?
Bina Agarwal will address these questions in the 2021 WIDER Annual Lecture, drawing on her three decades of research on the subject. She will be joined by Professor of international affairs at The New School in New York, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, as discussant.