- Securing land rights is a necessary but not sufficient step towards women’s empowerment. Land rights have profound implications on women’s ability to enjoy their rights in practice, however, land rights alone do not lead automatically to a situation where women can also benefit from their land.
- Empowering women through additional measures that foster/teach technical skills and self-confidence such as training is necessary for women to capitalize on already documented land rights.
- We need to consider a holistic change process that recognizes that improving self-belief/agency (individual) and policy and institutional settings (system structures) alone do not lead to sustainable change. Other dimensions, such as power dynamics and decision-making (relational) plus norms and stereotypes (socio-cultural) have to be addressed as well.
- We must work with women, but also their husbands, village elders, community members, lawmakers, and politicians alike to encourage the change we want to see.
The positive impact of securing women’s land rights
Evidence demonstrates women’s secured land use rights can improve women’s socio-economic situation, and promote women’s right to co-determination in the household and autonomy outside of the household.
For example, in Uganda, 75 % of women and men began to jointly decide land matters when land certificates were issued in the name of the family instead of the household head.
Other examples from the field to promote change:
- Support for women‘s cooperatives in Benin
- Women‘s job creation through recruitment favoring female candidates in Madagascar
- Targeted inclusion of female investors in Uganda
- Training of women‘s associations in advocacy and lobbying techniques in Madagascar
- Engaging women as members of mapping and dispute resolution teams (Uganda)