Updated on 8 March 2022
Women’s access to land and female tenure (in)security have increasingly taken center stage in the context of achieving gender equity, economic growth and social development, and in mitigating the impact of climate change. In fact, women are more likely to face tenure insecurity than men, particularly in the Global South. From large-scale land acquisitions that displace communities without due compensation, to the encroachment of indigenous lands, the impact of climate change and natural disasters, to everyday land and property deprivation by kin or state, women are more likely to experience land tenure insecurity and related impacts due to discriminatory laws, social practices, and patriarchal norms.
Although in many rural societies the majority of women work the land, millions of them lack direct, unmediated rights to the land. They face multiple layers of discrimination in both law and practice, intersecting with questions of race, ethnicity, political affiliation, age, or social status. In addition, the poor involvement of women in decision-making and weak negotiating power, coupled with rigid patriarchal norms and value systems, often prevent women to speak up and voice demands. Conversely, without effective legal control over the land they farm or the proceeds of their labor, women often lack the incentive, security, opportunity, or authority to make decisions about ways to conserve the land and to ensure its long-term productivity.
The Sustainable Development Goals 1.4.2, 5.a.1, and 5.a.2 acknowledge the critical role of secure land tenure for women in the pursuit of gender equality and sustainable development. Monitoring these indicators will also help to collect data on women’s land rights and access to land systematically. In 2020, Prindex conducted the first global survey of women’s perception of tenure security covering 140 countries. It shows that 20 percent of women (as much as men) feel tenure insecure, especially in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and North America .
* Note from Land Portal: even though we use "Gender" on the title of this portfolio, the descriptive text on this page focuses exclusively on the perspective of women. However, "Land & Gender" is used to tag several resources on the Land Portal which encompass both the perspectives of women and men in dealing with land issues.
Land & Gender in numbers
Land & Gender at a Glance
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