Access to land and resources and control over them are vital components of women’s empowerment. Land is a critical physical asset but also has a social role, defining social status and political power and structuring relationships both within and outside the household.
ILC members in October joined a global learning exchange in Arusha, Tanzania, to understand better how gender-transformative approaches can help secure land rights for women. This is their vision of what ‘transformation’ of women’s land rights means in their communities.
Our vision is that one day...
Legal and policy frameworks support women to secure land rights, and these laws are implemented, enforced and budgeted.
Women know their rights. Women demand their rights to land and fully enjoy them. This means being able to fully use, control, own, transform and make decisions about their land and resources, independently. They are secure, meaning they have formal titles and their right to land is respected by their families, communities and local authorities. Their rights to land are secure over time and they can pass those rights to the next generation. They do not have to fear losing these rights and can live and cultivate in peace. If they have conflicts over their rights to land, they are able to take cases to court and win.
All people – men and women - are aware of the benefits of women owning land and recognize women as farmers and producers and their contributions to their families and communities. Women are confident and know their capacities, including their economic and leadership skills. They strengthen their economic positions, which strengthens their families, communities and their food security.
Husbands and male family members understand, support and champion women’s land rights, including their rights to land. Women are able to demand land and property from their fathers, brothers and other family members. They automatically inherit the land that is rightfully theirs. Men write wills that reflect this and brothers are willing to support their sisters’ inheritance.
Women are respected. Women are listened to. Women leaders and organizations are in the front row in their communities and active in local platforms that serve to solve land conflicts between men and women. Rural women are able to meaningfully engage in dialogues and government consultations and push for reforms. They are respected and are not at risk of criminalization and eviction for defending their rights.
Women occupy decision-making positions at all levels. They contribute in land management institutions and are able to advocate to fight against climate change. They can make decisions that will improve their land and environments.
This vision is not only for educated women but for all who identify as women: for grassroots women, for young women, for older women, for women who are disabled, for women who work as bonded labour, for all women who are marginalized.
Women collaborate and stand up for each other. Women’s collective voices influence positive changes that reach all women – improving the lives of their families, their communities and their society.