Research by WRI and other organizations has shown that while national laws governing commercial land-based investments often mandate community participation in decision-making processes, in practice community participation remains weak, particularly for women. Women’s specific vulnerabilities, contributions to agriculture, and role as primary food providers in rural households necessitate their engagement in land acquisition and investment processes.

WRI and partner organizations launched a project to promote gender-equitable community decision-making on land investments in Mozambique, Tanzania and the Philippines, three countries that are among the most targeted for land investments in the global South. The project goal is to strengthen women’s participatory rights through reforms in the regulatory frameworks governing land investments. To achieve this goal, WRI and partner organizations conducted research to build the evidence base for reforms, pressed for reforms with relevant government entities and conducted outreach and sensitization activities to key stakeholders (i.e., national and local governments, women and men in local communities, companies and investors, and civil society and community-based organizations.

The working paper presents findings from the project research. A key finding is that statutory mandates on community participation and gender equality are not followed through in the regulatory frameworks, making it hard for women to exercise their rights. Specific reforms recommended for each country and outreach and advocacy strategies are discussed.