Secure land rights for women is recognized as critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly for eradicating poverty and ending hunger and gender equality (Goals 1, 2 and 5). Progress has been made in securing women’s land rights through titling, but the challenges women face require a more robust range of interventions to ensure that they can make decisions on land use and reap benefit from the land. These include more gender-equitable laws as well as training and capacity-building for women. Secure land rights uplifts the whole community and moves the world closer to realizing the SDGs.
Sustainable Development Goal 5
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Gender inequality is pervasive across the world and progress is halted or declining on all but a few indicators. Mounting evidence shows that advancements in gender equality could have a profoundly positive impact on social and environmental well-being—and vice versa—if managed well. But if not managed properly, some environment projects can actually worsen gender inequality.
At WRI we actively seek opportunities to draw on these insights in our work. WRI’s Gender and Social Equity Initiative works across WRI to ensure that gender and equity issues are incorporated into our research and analysis to ensure that we not only ‘do no harm,’ but that we advance gender equality. WRI research and stakeholder engagement identifies and advances enabling conditions for women’s meaningful participation in decision-making (SDG 5.5) and equitable access to resources (SDG 5.1, SDG 5.A, SDG 5.C). Our Land and Resource Rights Practice promotes women’s equal rights to govern, use and benefit from land and resources within indigenous and customary communities, including those governed by collective tenure systems.
Women have historically been left out of infrastructure fields like energy and transport. Will the low-carbon transition offer more job opportunities for women?
There is a strong and compelling environment and development case to be made for securing indigenous and community lands. Securing collective land rights offers a low-cost, high-reward investment for developing country governments and their partners to meet national development objectives and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Securing community lands is also a cost-effective climate mitigation measure for countries when compared to other carbon capture and storage approaches.
Research shows that water projects can become more effective when women participate. So why are they still being left out?
In a study of corporate land deals with rural communities in Tanzania and Mozambique, women consistently received less in return for their land, and had a harder time once they were relocated—despite national commitments to gender equality.
Advancing women’s land right rights is critical to achieving gender equality. But WRI’s new working paper A Fair Share for Women: Toward More Equitable Land Compensation and Resettlement in Tanzania and Mozambique finds that, despite constitutional commitments to gender equality, governments in Tanzania and Mozambique are not protecting women from harmful commercial land deals. State officials’ failure to close gaps in land laws and overhaul ineffective regulations shortchanges women who receive little to no payment for their families’ land, while attempts to amplify women’s voices in community land decision-making are also falling short.