Despite making up 43% of the agricultural labour force, women still own less than 15% of the world’s land. Today, this gap is unacceptable and is a critical barrier stopping us from achieving women’s human rights.
The 2022 theme for International Women’s Day - #BreakTheBias - calls on people to eliminate attitudes and behaviours that continue to oppress women and girls. In Africa, ILC members are working tirelessly to #BreakTheBias by fighting for equal access to and ownership of land for women.
You may remember Justine’s story and how she fought to keep her land after her husband passed away. Her victory was the result of a series of trainings and workshops organised by ILC’s National Land Coalition of Cameroon to educate communities on equitable customary land management.
This International Women’s Day, ILC Africa and partners will be hosting a one-day regional event in Nairobi to put a spotlight on these issues. Join us on the 8th of March, either in person or online, for a Women and Land Expo, the launch of the IGAD Coffee Table book, and the launch of the Stand 4 Her Land campaign.
Follow us on Instagram (@landcoalition), we’ll take you with us throughout the day to meet some of the participants at the Women and Land Expo.
In view of International Women’s Day, we had the chance to talk to Adenike Oladosu, eco-feminist, climate justice activist and eco-reporter from Nigeria.
Why is securing women’s land rights so important on different levels?
Without land rights women face all sorts of discriminations and issues. For example, they cannot access loans to grow and they don’t have financial independence. It takes them so much time to navigate through these constraints that they are not able to put that time into growing, striving and becoming more productive.
We have seen with the COVID-19 crisis that women had the responsibility to support and provide food for their families. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women grow between 60-80% of the food, imagine what they could do if they had rights over their land. That’s why I say that securing women’s land rights is a solution-multiplier, because it would allow us to tackle not only climate change, but also food insecurity, human rights issues etc.
Why is women’s land rights both an environmental and a human rights issue?
In places like Sub-Saharan Africa, where I am from, we have over 20 million child brides. In some areas, environmental degradation is as high as 80%. The two things are correlated. Environmental degradation is linked to the increase in child brides because families often use child marriage as a survival strategy or a financial tool to stabilise their families.
Globally, 80% of people displaced by the climate crisis are women and girls.
Women can play a very essential role in solving the climate crisis because once they have rights over their land, they are able to preserve it, to bring innovation. And they would also have financial independence and bargaining power to decide for themselves.
What role can young people play in building a more sustainable future?
Everyone has a solution to give, when it comes to tackling the climate change crisis. It’s very important that nobody is left behind when we are trying to create change in our society and that everyone is involved. The power lies within young people because they are no longer the leaders of tomorrow, they are also the leaders of today. That’s one thing I am excited about my activism is that more young people are part of decision-making. They don’t get to wait for that tomorrow, because tomorrow starts from now.