Enhancing Recognition and Return of Women Farmers: WGWLO’s Legal and Institutional Initiatives | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
February 2021
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  • Women in India lack recognition as farmers in spite of their recognized contribution to farming. This is largely due to their lack of land ownership. Also, women face a gender gap in productivity.
  • Empowering women through land ownership rights can increase total agricultural output and address hunger and family nutrition; however, women’s land rights remain limited in India, in spite of constitutional equality, legal initiatives and institutional innovations.
  • Socio-cultural factors, complex laws and procedures, insensitive administrative structures and redressal mechanisms, lack of familiarity and understanding of land administration and legal jargon are often obstacles for women to own land.


  • The Working Group of Women for Land Ownership (WGWLO), a network of 47 institutions in Gujarat, India, works to enhance women’s land ownership over private land, largely through inheritance rights.
  • By building the capacity of its own network members and land administration officials, it provides appropriate legal and institutional support in the form of para-legal workers (Swabhoomi Kendras) Legal Clinics and training of land administrators to improve women farmers’ land rights while also linking them to farm-support services for sustainable farming.


  • It is possible to recognize the property rights of women farmers, even through an NGO-led initiative, by tapping the existing legal frameworks governing inheritance.
  • Building local capacity and institutions for single window delivery of agricultural land rights and farming services can be a successful model to strengthen women farmers’ tenure security and catalyse agricultural transformation.
  • An NGO network, with its social capital strength, can facilitate Government participation and potential policy buy-in for successful pilots. However, long-term resource support and champions within government are critical for upscaling and sustaining such an initiative.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Authors: Pranab Ranjan Choudhury & Navin Kumar Amang
Series editor: Mercedes Stickler
Publication Design & Illustrations: Navin Kumar Amang


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