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

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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Jen Duncan

10 ways donors can support African governments on rural land rights

This blog was originally published by Devex.com on November 18 as part of their ongoing Land Matters series. News of soaring demand for land in Africa and the strain this places on rural men and women is not new. Nor is it …
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Jen Duncan and Elisa Scalise

How land rights for women could help fight climate change

This editorial originally appeared in the Global Post on November 18.  Climate change is not gender-neutral. Women in the developing world are often responsible for household food security, agricultural work, and water and fuel harvesting, which are all impacted by …
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