INDIA — The impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls is disproportionate and devastating. The familiar patterns of gender inequality embedded in the world’s political, social and economic systems have only become more pronounced during this crisis.
As the global community strives for a more gender-equal world, closing the gender gap in land ownership holds great promise. Secure and clear rights to land create pathways to empowerment and economic opportunity, and often have the ability to shift long-standing social and power dynamics.
Around the world, women own less land than men. The UN estimates that less than 20 percent of world’s landholders are women, and reports by the World Bank show that in 40 percent of the world’s economies, women face legal barriers to their land and property rights.
This gap is high in South Asia, where land is usually a private asset owned and acquired mainly through inheritance and passed along by males in patrilineal families.