Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights

The Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights champions women’s secure access to land by providing resources and training that connects policymakers, researchers, and practitioners around the world. We pilot innovative solutions to secure women’s land rights and educate development experts about the gap between customary and institutional law. Our program goal is to build capacity to promote approaches that strengthen and secure women’s land rights through:

  • Strengthening women’s property rights in law and in practice in countries where we work, while closing the gap between customary and formal law.
  • Creating LandWise: A Women & Land Library that provides laws and other resources affecting women’s rights.
  • Growing a two-year fellowship program that trains and mentors new legal professionals on securing property rights for women.
  • Engaging professionals from the developing world to improve their ability to work on women’s land rights.

Why women’s land rights?

When women have secure rights to their land, they are better able to provide for their family’s needs – especially those of their children. Studies show the linkages when women have secure rights to land:

  • Family nutrition and health improves;
  • Women become less vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS;
  • HIV-positive women may be better able to cope with the consequences of AIDS;
  • Women may be less likely to be victims of domestic violence;
  • Children are more likely to receive an education and stay in school longer;
  • Women may have better access to micro-credit;
  • Women’s participation in household decision-making increases.

Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world. Often, they do not have secure rights to the land they farm and are denied equal rights to access, inherit, or own it. As a result, these women are at an increased risk of losing their source of food, income, and shelter should they lose their only link to the land they till:  husbands, fathers, or brothers taken by illness, violence, or migration.

From Our Blog

Ruma Chatterjee

Women Help Girls in India with Land Rights Education

Swapna Dey has dozens of daughters. They come to see her every Sunday afternoon. “The girls share everything with me,” Dey said, an energetic and petite middle-aged woman with an infectious smile. “Especially, they share the problems they face. I am …
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Tim Hanstad

Land Rights for Women Mean Progress for Communities

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post on November 24, 2014. If we want to empower rural women in the developing world, there is no better first step than providing them with secure rights to land. The reason is …
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Tim Hanstad

Depriving women farmers of land rights will set back China

This article was first published by the South China Morning Post on November 3, 2014. China is launching what is perhaps the most ambitious land registration system in history, seeking to document and protect property rights to more than one …
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