Thursday, May 30, 2013
PUBLICATION: ActionAid report on the potential of land rights to contribute to gender equality
ActionAid conducted research in three countries with rural marginalized women; the dalit women in India, women affected by HIV in Sierra Leone and Indigenous women in Guatemala, as part of an on-going project on Enhancing poor and excluded women’s access to and control over land as a strategy for empowerment and fighting hunger.
The study’s findings offer a detailed account of the link between land rights and empowerment, an innovative venture given the notable lack of literature and evidence linking these issues. In this sense, the study aims to build a better understanding of this relationship. As part of the study, the women from the three social groups in the three countries were invited to articulate their own sense of the empowerment that came with their access to, control over or ownership of land. An analysis of these responses indicated that:
- Land ownership is not empowering if it is insecure, if the land is insufficient or infertile;
- Having access to, control over or ownership of land allowed them to exercise greater choice and decision-making, and contribute to their own well-being and that of their families and communities;
- Women who have access to, control over and ownership of land are more politically aware, more active in public forums, movements or associations, and more engaged in contributing to collective action and voice – and not only in those relevant to the land;
- The stronger a woman’s claim over land, the greater their participation in the household and community and the fulfillment of other rights.
In a nutshell, land access in itself is not empowering to women if such access is insecure, if the land is insufficient or infertile, if their control is constrained, or if they lack the resources, support or input to maximize its productive value.