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Country Specific Questions & Answers (9)

Unfortunately, I could not find specific data on the percentage of women who have obtained title deeds under customary ownership. The figures I was able to get are all from the FAO database and primarily relate to agricultural land: http://www.fao.org/gender-landrights-database/data-map/statistics/en/?sta_id=1164.

According to the agricultural census from 2002, 19.7 percent of agricultural holders were women and 80.3 percent were men. The agricultural holder is the person who makes the major decisions regarding resource use and exercises management control over the agricultural holding

Of total agricultural land owners, 45.2 percent were women and 54.8 percent were men in 2013 (LSMS-ISA 2012-2013). The agricultural landowner is defined as the legal owner of the agricultural land, but the indicator may not necessarily reflect documented ownership certified by a legal document.

Of total household agricultural land, 16 percent is owned by women and 44 percent is owned by men; 39 percent is owned jointly by women and men (LSMS, 2010-2011,[1] Doss et al. 2015)[2]

While the legal framework generally upholds women’s rights to land, in rural areas patriarchal practices predominate whereby men are de facto heads of households and have greater rights to land than women. The law is still weak in regard to women’s inheritance rights to land, and inheritance practices discriminate severely against women (FAO GLRD, country study).

Under the Village Land Act, seven-member Village Land Councils must be comprised of at least three women. The Village Land Council has a minimum quorum of four members, at least two of whom must be women. The Act provides that the nine-member Village Adjudication Committees, tasked in part with safeguarding women’s interests, must be comprised of at least four women. Five members are required for a quorum; at least two of which must be women (FAO GLRD, country study).

The Land Act of 1999 (Part XII) provides the legal framework for shared tenure. The Act recognizes two forms of shared tenure, joint occupancy and occupancy in common. Joint occupancy can only be created among spouses and exists when land as a whole is occupied jointly under a right of occupancy or lease. This means that: (a) there can be no disposition without agreement by all occupiers; (b) the joint occupiers—while alive—can only transfer their interest to the other joint occupier(s); and (c) when a joint occupier dies, interest vests in the surviving occupier (or occupiers, in which case jointly) (FAO GLRD, country study).

With occupancy in common, each occupier is entitled to an undivided share in the whole. The implications are that: (1) any occupier in common needs the consent in writing of the other occupier(s) before he or she can transact his or her interest to another person, but consent cannot be “unreasonably” withheld and (2) when an occupier dies, his or her share becomes part of the estate and his or her heir inherits the land. The legal presumption is that spouses hold all land that is co-occupied and used by both (or all) as occupiers in common, and the presumption of co-occupancy for spouses applies to granted rights (certificate of occupancy) and customary rights (customary certificate of occupancy). Co-occupancy is not presumed, under the Land Act, to apply to land that belonged to one spouse prior to the marriage (FAO GLRD, country study).

The Law of Marriage Act prohibits one spouse from alienating his or her interest in the matrimonial home (including associated agricultural land allocated by a husband or wife to his or her spouse for exclusive use) without the consent of the other spouse(s) (FAO GLRD, country study).

Click Here for a recent article that discusses the issues your question raises.  The article has case studies and gives a good feel for the issues faced by women but does not have hard statistics.


[1] Living Standard Measurement Study (LSMS) survey. LSMS-ISA (LSMS-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture)
[2] Doss, C., Kovarik, C., Peterman, A., Quisuming, A.R., Bold, M.V. den, 2015. Gender inequalities in ownership and control of land in Africa: Myth and Reality. Agricultural Economics 46(2).

There is some research that says, “yes.”  A paper given at the 2018 World Bank Land Conference found that financial conditionality was motivation for joint titling.

Cherchi, Ludovica; Goldstein, Markus; Habyarimana, James; Montalvao, Joao; O’Sullivan, Michael; and Udry, Chris, “Incentives for Joint Land Titling: Experimental Evidence from Uganda,” 2018 World Bank Conference On Land And Poverty, The World Bank – Washington DC, March 19-23, 2018.

That research looked at conditionality and gender information as motivation for joint titling—together and separate—in Uganda. The research found that:

Imposing conditionality raised co-titling probability by 31% among gender uninformed HHs, and by 14% among informed HH.

  • Providing information raised co-titling probability by 16% among HH offered titles unconditionally, and no impact among HH offered titles conditionally.
  • Fully-subsidized land titles successfully generated high overall demand for titling, as well as for co-titling.
  • Imposing gender conditionality on subsidy raised demand for co-titling, without dampening overall demand for titling.
  • Providing additional gender information in isolation further raises demand for co-titling, though not as much as the conditionality, and has no impact on demand for titling.

A reduction in the stamp duty, for lands registered in the name of women, has encouraged women’s property ownership rights in some states in India (e.g. Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi). https://landportal.org/debates/2017/womens-land-rights-india-and-sustainable-development-goals-sdgs

Yes. Here are two examples, but there are many more. Mozambique’s Family law (No 10/2004), states that immovable property, whether belonging to each spouse individually or as common property, may only be transferred to others with the express permission of both spouses. Section 40 of the Uganda Land Act states that spouses have the right to use, access and live on their husband’s land and they may withhold their consent to stop land transactions.

Several states in India have lowered the tax placed on legal documents usually in the transfer of assets or property (Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himchal Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, and Utter Pradesh). In some states, if land is registered in the name of women, no (or reduced) stamp duty is charged. In other states, if a husband adds his wife to the title, no stamp duty is charged.

In Nepal, the government waives part of the land registration fee when land is registered in a woman’s name. The exemption started at 10 percent in 2006, increasing to 20 percent in 2007 and 25 percent in 2009. As a result, the amount of land registered in women’s names more than tripled. In Ghana, the number of documents registered by women in their own names in the deeds registration system increased substantially between 2005, when there were only two land registries in the whole country, and 2006, when land administration was decentralized and more registries were opened outside the capital. Decentralization was accompanied by a public awareness campaign, informing women and men about the opening of new deeds registry offices where they could register their documents (See, Governing land for women and men).

Other activities that encourage women’s names on documents include promoting the participation of women employees in the registration process and conducting public awareness campaigns that target women and inform them of the importance of land rights and registration, where rights can be registered and under which conditions – service fees, need of proof, etc.

Lao successfully encouraged women’s names to be included on documents by funding the Lao Women’s Union to educate and inform women of their rights. The Lao Women’s Union (LWU) is the official state organization that advocates for gender equity.  For a period of time, the LWU was a very active member of the titling brigades. Gender was integrated into the education, training and information dissemination activities at the village level by the LWU.

Be sure there are at least two signature lines on land documents.

Research indicates that when women are empowered through having secure rights to land, their agricultural productivity improves; they are more included in household decision-making, which has a positive impact on their families; and their income may improve. Here are some examples from Africa and beyond.

Agricultural yields and investment:

  • In Rwanda, land titling boosted land investment among male-headed households by 10% and for female-headed households by nearly twice as much (Ali, et al., 2014).
  • Women’s concern over loss of land reduces their investments in land even when their husbands are alive. In Zambia, secure inheritance rights for widows are associated with higher land investment by married couples, including fertilizer application, fallowing, and use of labor-intensive tillage practices meant to reduce erosion and run-off. Investment is highest when the widow inherits, lower when someone in her family inherits, and lowest when the land reverts to the chief or another family member (Dillon & Voena, 2017).

Inclusivity:

Female farmers are largely excluded from modern contract-farming arrangements because they lack secure control over land, labor, and other resources required to guarantee a reliable flow of produce (FAO-SOFA Team & Doss, 2011; Croppenstadt, Goldstein, & Rosas, 2013).

Secure land rights are important for the well-being of families, whether a woman is head of her household or lives in a household headed by a man (Smith, Ramakrishnan, Ndiaye, & Martorell, 2003). Households where women have rights to land are likely to spend a larger portion of household income on food (Menon, ven der Meulen Rodgers, & Nguyen, 2014); an increase in female landholdings is associated with increases in household food expenditure and levels of child education (Katz & Chamorro, 2002); and children of mothers who own land are less likely to be severely underweight because women have control over household decisions (Allendorf, 2007).

  • In Tanzania, women who reported having strong property and inheritance rights were more likely to be employed outside of the home, more likely to be self-employed, and more likely to have higher gross earnings. Moreover, women in communities with stronger property and inheritance rights for women have greater individual savings (Peterman, 2011). A study in Ethiopia also found that when the larger community of women has land rights, individual women’s rights are improved (Holden & Bezu, 2014).
  • In Ethiopia, in the event of a no-fault divorce, women who brought in some land to the marriage expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of a divorce than those who did not bring land into the marriage, and women who individually own more livestock and hold user rights on a larger share of the household’s land expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of divorce than those with no livestock or a smaller share of household land. In addition, women who bring more assets into the household, either at the time of marriage or through inheritance, have more say in farming decisions (Fafchamps & Quisumbing, 2002).

Labor and Income:

  • In Rwanda, a study by Ali (2017) shows  higher incomes for both men and women, a drop in farm labor, and women’s shift toward self- and wage-employment.

How do we achieve that?

This is a big question with many moving parts. The critical things are to: (1) understand the context, including the law, customs of different groups, the land tenure systems, the political situation, and what women want to focus on—what are the biggest constraints women face (for example, widows lose rights to their land); and (2) understand which land rights you want to secure or improve—the right to use, the right to benefit from, the right to manage/make decisions—and what would make them more secure (longer term, more enforcable, not changed by marital status, etc.).

Ali, D. A., Deininger, K., & Goldstein, M. (2014). Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda. Journal of Development Economics, 110, 262-275.

Allendorf, K. (2007). Do women’s land rights promote empowerment and child health in Nepal? World Development, 35(11), 1975-1988.

Dillon, B., & Voena, A. (2017, January). Inheritance Customs and Agricultural Investment.

Croppenstadt, A., Goldstein, M. , & Rosas, N. (2013). Gender and Agriculture, Inefficiencies, Segregation, and Low Productivity Traps. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Economics Vice Presidency, Partnerships, Capacity Building Unit.

Fafchamps, M., & Quisumbing, A. (2002). Control and Ownership Over Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households. Journal of Development Studies, 38(6).

FAO-SOFA Team, & Doss, C. (2011). The Role of Women and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.

Holden, S., & Bezu, S. (2014). Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?”. As, Norway: Centre for Land Tenure Studies/School of Economics and Business Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Katz, E., & Chamorro, J. (2002). Gender, land rights, and the household economy in rural Nicaragua and Honduras. Madison, WI: USAID/BASIS CRSP.

Menon, N., ven der Meulen Rodgers, Y., & Nguyen, H. (2014). Women’s Land Rights and Children’s Human Capital in Vietnam. World Development, 54, 18-31.

Peterman, A. (2011). Women’s Property Rights and Gendered Policies: Implications for Women’s Long-term Welfare in Rural Tanzania. Journal of Development Studies, 47(1).

Smith, L., Ramakrishnan, U., Ndiaye, A., & Martorell, R. (2003). The Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Developing Countries. IFPRI.

Question:
When did Tigray, SNNP, and Oromiya implemented their regional family codes and which components of these laws differ from the Federal Revised Family Code of 2000 (Proclamation No. 213/2000)? Your library includes a link to the English version of Amhara’s Family Code of 2003 (Proclamation No. 79/2003), but I cannot find English versions for the other regions. According to Hallward-Driemeier and Gajigo, Amhara, Oromiya, and Tigray updated their family codes between 2000 and 2005 and SNNP did so between 2005 and 2011. I would like to know the precise years in which these regions, and especially SNNP, implemented their family codes.

Response:
I do not know of copies of the Revised Family Law in English for any state except Amhara.
Tigray passed its own Family Code in 1998, which served as a model for the Federal Code. The Tigray Region Family Code was revised in 2007.
The Oromia Regional State Family Code, Proc. No. 83/2004 passed in 2004.
The SNNP Family Code was passed in 2004, so implementation would have started in 2005. The Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State’s Family Code Proc. No. 75/2004, Debub Negarit Gazetta, 9th Year, Extraordinary Issue No. 1 passed in 2004. I was unable to find it in English, but here’s a comparison of the Federal Family Code and the SNNPR Family Code.

From your question, I am not sure how much control you have over the design of the systematic land titling program, but for the purpose of this answer, I will assume that you have a reasonable level of influence over the design.

If possible, from the beginning it is helpful to involve local organizations or local government personnel who have regular positive contact with women in the community to understand the specific context of the area where systematic registration will take place. This can be as simple as a meeting with local women’s organizations or women leaders to discuss the project, provide information about the process and the law as it relates to women, and then to solicit their input and assistance on how best to ensure women know they have a right to be registered as joint or co-owners and how to implement that right. Identifying and involving women’s organizations will help throughout the project. Local organizations can influence men within households, create pressure to jointly register property, as well as oversee that women are included.

Another critical step will be to ensure that all the documents involved in systematic registration have room for at least two names. If there is only one signature line, only the head of household, usually a man, will sign.

Educating and training project personnel, stakeholders, and beneficiaries about the law and about the value and importance of women’s names being included on the documents is also critical. Beneficiaries, both men and women, will need to understand the process for registering, including, what is required for registration (are there identification documents required, for example) and how much it will cost. Registration personnel can be required to explain the law and to have all adults, who use the land in any capacity, present at the time of demarcation of the land

There are positive examples of incentives being offered for jointly registering property. For example, the cost for the registration can be lower for joint registration than individual registration. The stamp duty might be waived for joint registration, or other financial incentives can be provided.

Finally, if possible, having women as well as men hired as personnel on the project can encourage women to be more engaged. Being gender inclusive in hiring registrars, surveyors, and community educators is likely to lead to more women being named on documents.

Module 4 of the FAO technical guide: Governing Land for Women and Men provides a good checklist of practical steps that can be taken.

While this issue is a concern in many urban and rural settings, there seems to be precious little “how to” information available. What does exist can provide a roadmap, but the details will be dependent on the goal of your project, the current law, and local and national political will.

The most recent research on the topic that I could find comes out of South Africa. I would recommend a book and an article as a good starting place. The book is, UNTITLED: Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa, edited by Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill, Lauren Royston, and Ben Cousins, and published in 2017.

The article is, Land Rights Adjudication: Developing Principles and Processes for ESTA and Labour Tenant Right ’ Holders, and was published in June 2017. The article was written by Dr. Rosalie Kingwill for Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA).

The gist of the idea is this:

• Collect evidence from the ground up to understand the local situation/norms of land use.
• Develop standardized evidentiary principles based on current norms where ‘like units’ can be compared with ‘like units’ across varied tenure landscapes to allow for local variation and diversity.
• Develop a system of adjudication with clear-cut principles against which to test the legality or veracity of individual land rights by authoritative means.

The registry for “off-register” rights could be separate or a part of the main land registry depending on the existing system. Namibia has passed an act designed to create new forms of title to immovable property and to create a register for these forms of title. The system is expected to operate parallel to the existing registration system. Admittedly, including non-ownership rights in an existing registry or creating a new registry will be a slow and difficult process.

Gender Specific Issues

Anytime a census of rights is taken, women are at risk. Women, who use land and depend on it may nonetheless not be considered to have a right to that land. Thus, the evidence collectors will need to be aware that they are collecting information on who has what interest in which land, and that this information should be collected from every adult member in a household, not only the head of household. In addition, a focused effort will be required to ensure that women, as well as men, are provided notice and receive ongoing information and communication throughout the process. Including women often requires separate meetings or other accommodations.

As well, when registering of rights/interests occurs, there is usually a perception of increased value of the land. Where there is a significant power differential between men and women, women can lose their right to use the land, once the value of that land is increased. It will be important to monitor the effect of the information gathering and to communicate with the community about its purpose and the hoped for outcome.

This is a big question, but fortunately, much has been written about gender inequality and land rights in Uganda. There are two documents that I think will be useful. First, is an overview of the law and practice related to women’s land rights—a practice guide— Women’s Land Rights in Uganda and the second is the Ugandan Land Policy.

In brief, the practice guide points out some of the legal issues that continue to limit women’s rights to land (for example a weak inheritance law) and customary law practices that maintain inequality between men and women.

What can be done about it?  Uganda has a very gender positive Land Policy that suggests a complete understanding of the issues facing women. If the Land Policy were to be implemented, gender equality in land rights would be much more likely.

Ethiopia (2)

Research indicates that when women are empowered through having secure rights to land, their agricultural productivity improves; they are more included in household decision-making, which has a positive impact on their families; and their income may improve. Here are some examples from Africa and beyond.

Agricultural yields and investment:

  • In Rwanda, land titling boosted land investment among male-headed households by 10% and for female-headed households by nearly twice as much (Ali, et al., 2014).
  • Women’s concern over loss of land reduces their investments in land even when their husbands are alive. In Zambia, secure inheritance rights for widows are associated with higher land investment by married couples, including fertilizer application, fallowing, and use of labor-intensive tillage practices meant to reduce erosion and run-off. Investment is highest when the widow inherits, lower when someone in her family inherits, and lowest when the land reverts to the chief or another family member (Dillon & Voena, 2017).

Inclusivity:

Female farmers are largely excluded from modern contract-farming arrangements because they lack secure control over land, labor, and other resources required to guarantee a reliable flow of produce (FAO-SOFA Team & Doss, 2011; Croppenstadt, Goldstein, & Rosas, 2013).

Secure land rights are important for the well-being of families, whether a woman is head of her household or lives in a household headed by a man (Smith, Ramakrishnan, Ndiaye, & Martorell, 2003). Households where women have rights to land are likely to spend a larger portion of household income on food (Menon, ven der Meulen Rodgers, & Nguyen, 2014); an increase in female landholdings is associated with increases in household food expenditure and levels of child education (Katz & Chamorro, 2002); and children of mothers who own land are less likely to be severely underweight because women have control over household decisions (Allendorf, 2007).

  • In Tanzania, women who reported having strong property and inheritance rights were more likely to be employed outside of the home, more likely to be self-employed, and more likely to have higher gross earnings. Moreover, women in communities with stronger property and inheritance rights for women have greater individual savings (Peterman, 2011). A study in Ethiopia also found that when the larger community of women has land rights, individual women’s rights are improved (Holden & Bezu, 2014).
  • In Ethiopia, in the event of a no-fault divorce, women who brought in some land to the marriage expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of a divorce than those who did not bring land into the marriage, and women who individually own more livestock and hold user rights on a larger share of the household’s land expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of divorce than those with no livestock or a smaller share of household land. In addition, women who bring more assets into the household, either at the time of marriage or through inheritance, have more say in farming decisions (Fafchamps & Quisumbing, 2002).

Labor and Income:

  • In Rwanda, a study by Ali (2017) shows  higher incomes for both men and women, a drop in farm labor, and women’s shift toward self- and wage-employment.

How do we achieve that?

This is a big question with many moving parts. The critical things are to: (1) understand the context, including the law, customs of different groups, the land tenure systems, the political situation, and what women want to focus on—what are the biggest constraints women face (for example, widows lose rights to their land); and (2) understand which land rights you want to secure or improve—the right to use, the right to benefit from, the right to manage/make decisions—and what would make them more secure (longer term, more enforcable, not changed by marital status, etc.).

Ali, D. A., Deininger, K., & Goldstein, M. (2014). Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda. Journal of Development Economics, 110, 262-275.

Allendorf, K. (2007). Do women’s land rights promote empowerment and child health in Nepal? World Development, 35(11), 1975-1988.

Dillon, B., & Voena, A. (2017, January). Inheritance Customs and Agricultural Investment.

Croppenstadt, A., Goldstein, M. , & Rosas, N. (2013). Gender and Agriculture, Inefficiencies, Segregation, and Low Productivity Traps. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Economics Vice Presidency, Partnerships, Capacity Building Unit.

Fafchamps, M., & Quisumbing, A. (2002). Control and Ownership Over Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households. Journal of Development Studies, 38(6).

FAO-SOFA Team, & Doss, C. (2011). The Role of Women and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.

Holden, S., & Bezu, S. (2014). Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?”. As, Norway: Centre for Land Tenure Studies/School of Economics and Business Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Katz, E., & Chamorro, J. (2002). Gender, land rights, and the household economy in rural Nicaragua and Honduras. Madison, WI: USAID/BASIS CRSP.

Menon, N., ven der Meulen Rodgers, Y., & Nguyen, H. (2014). Women’s Land Rights and Children’s Human Capital in Vietnam. World Development, 54, 18-31.

Peterman, A. (2011). Women’s Property Rights and Gendered Policies: Implications for Women’s Long-term Welfare in Rural Tanzania. Journal of Development Studies, 47(1).

Smith, L., Ramakrishnan, U., Ndiaye, A., & Martorell, R. (2003). The Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Developing Countries. IFPRI.

Question:
When did Tigray, SNNP, and Oromiya implemented their regional family codes and which components of these laws differ from the Federal Revised Family Code of 2000 (Proclamation No. 213/2000)? Your library includes a link to the English version of Amhara’s Family Code of 2003 (Proclamation No. 79/2003), but I cannot find English versions for the other regions. According to Hallward-Driemeier and Gajigo, Amhara, Oromiya, and Tigray updated their family codes between 2000 and 2005 and SNNP did so between 2005 and 2011. I would like to know the precise years in which these regions, and especially SNNP, implemented their family codes.

Response:
I do not know of copies of the Revised Family Law in English for any state except Amhara.
Tigray passed its own Family Code in 1998, which served as a model for the Federal Code. The Tigray Region Family Code was revised in 2007.
The Oromia Regional State Family Code, Proc. No. 83/2004 passed in 2004.
The SNNP Family Code was passed in 2004, so implementation would have started in 2005. The Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State’s Family Code Proc. No. 75/2004, Debub Negarit Gazetta, 9th Year, Extraordinary Issue No. 1 passed in 2004. I was unable to find it in English, but here’s a comparison of the Federal Family Code and the SNNPR Family Code.

Ghana (1)

Several states in India have lowered the tax placed on legal documents usually in the transfer of assets or property (Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himchal Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, and Utter Pradesh). In some states, if land is registered in the name of women, no (or reduced) stamp duty is charged. In other states, if a husband adds his wife to the title, no stamp duty is charged.

In Nepal, the government waives part of the land registration fee when land is registered in a woman’s name. The exemption started at 10 percent in 2006, increasing to 20 percent in 2007 and 25 percent in 2009. As a result, the amount of land registered in women’s names more than tripled. In Ghana, the number of documents registered by women in their own names in the deeds registration system increased substantially between 2005, when there were only two land registries in the whole country, and 2006, when land administration was decentralized and more registries were opened outside the capital. Decentralization was accompanied by a public awareness campaign, informing women and men about the opening of new deeds registry offices where they could register their documents (See, Governing land for women and men).

Other activities that encourage women’s names on documents include promoting the participation of women employees in the registration process and conducting public awareness campaigns that target women and inform them of the importance of land rights and registration, where rights can be registered and under which conditions – service fees, need of proof, etc.

Lao successfully encouraged women’s names to be included on documents by funding the Lao Women’s Union to educate and inform women of their rights. The Lao Women’s Union (LWU) is the official state organization that advocates for gender equity.  For a period of time, the LWU was a very active member of the titling brigades. Gender was integrated into the education, training and information dissemination activities at the village level by the LWU.

Be sure there are at least two signature lines on land documents.

India (1)

Several states in India have lowered the tax placed on legal documents usually in the transfer of assets or property (Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himchal Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, and Utter Pradesh). In some states, if land is registered in the name of women, no (or reduced) stamp duty is charged. In other states, if a husband adds his wife to the title, no stamp duty is charged.

In Nepal, the government waives part of the land registration fee when land is registered in a woman’s name. The exemption started at 10 percent in 2006, increasing to 20 percent in 2007 and 25 percent in 2009. As a result, the amount of land registered in women’s names more than tripled. In Ghana, the number of documents registered by women in their own names in the deeds registration system increased substantially between 2005, when there were only two land registries in the whole country, and 2006, when land administration was decentralized and more registries were opened outside the capital. Decentralization was accompanied by a public awareness campaign, informing women and men about the opening of new deeds registry offices where they could register their documents (See, Governing land for women and men).

Other activities that encourage women’s names on documents include promoting the participation of women employees in the registration process and conducting public awareness campaigns that target women and inform them of the importance of land rights and registration, where rights can be registered and under which conditions – service fees, need of proof, etc.

Lao successfully encouraged women’s names to be included on documents by funding the Lao Women’s Union to educate and inform women of their rights. The Lao Women’s Union (LWU) is the official state organization that advocates for gender equity.  For a period of time, the LWU was a very active member of the titling brigades. Gender was integrated into the education, training and information dissemination activities at the village level by the LWU.

Be sure there are at least two signature lines on land documents.

Lao (1)

Several states in India have lowered the tax placed on legal documents usually in the transfer of assets or property (Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himchal Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, and Utter Pradesh). In some states, if land is registered in the name of women, no (or reduced) stamp duty is charged. In other states, if a husband adds his wife to the title, no stamp duty is charged.

In Nepal, the government waives part of the land registration fee when land is registered in a woman’s name. The exemption started at 10 percent in 2006, increasing to 20 percent in 2007 and 25 percent in 2009. As a result, the amount of land registered in women’s names more than tripled. In Ghana, the number of documents registered by women in their own names in the deeds registration system increased substantially between 2005, when there were only two land registries in the whole country, and 2006, when land administration was decentralized and more registries were opened outside the capital. Decentralization was accompanied by a public awareness campaign, informing women and men about the opening of new deeds registry offices where they could register their documents (See, Governing land for women and men).

Other activities that encourage women’s names on documents include promoting the participation of women employees in the registration process and conducting public awareness campaigns that target women and inform them of the importance of land rights and registration, where rights can be registered and under which conditions – service fees, need of proof, etc.

Lao successfully encouraged women’s names to be included on documents by funding the Lao Women’s Union to educate and inform women of their rights. The Lao Women’s Union (LWU) is the official state organization that advocates for gender equity.  For a period of time, the LWU was a very active member of the titling brigades. Gender was integrated into the education, training and information dissemination activities at the village level by the LWU.

Be sure there are at least two signature lines on land documents.

Mozambique (1)

Yes. Here are two examples, but there are many more. Mozambique’s Family law (No 10/2004), states that immovable property, whether belonging to each spouse individually or as common property, may only be transferred to others with the express permission of both spouses. Section 40 of the Uganda Land Act states that spouses have the right to use, access and live on their husband’s land and they may withhold their consent to stop land transactions.

Nepal (1)

Several states in India have lowered the tax placed on legal documents usually in the transfer of assets or property (Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himchal Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, and Utter Pradesh). In some states, if land is registered in the name of women, no (or reduced) stamp duty is charged. In other states, if a husband adds his wife to the title, no stamp duty is charged.

In Nepal, the government waives part of the land registration fee when land is registered in a woman’s name. The exemption started at 10 percent in 2006, increasing to 20 percent in 2007 and 25 percent in 2009. As a result, the amount of land registered in women’s names more than tripled. In Ghana, the number of documents registered by women in their own names in the deeds registration system increased substantially between 2005, when there were only two land registries in the whole country, and 2006, when land administration was decentralized and more registries were opened outside the capital. Decentralization was accompanied by a public awareness campaign, informing women and men about the opening of new deeds registry offices where they could register their documents (See, Governing land for women and men).

Other activities that encourage women’s names on documents include promoting the participation of women employees in the registration process and conducting public awareness campaigns that target women and inform them of the importance of land rights and registration, where rights can be registered and under which conditions – service fees, need of proof, etc.

Lao successfully encouraged women’s names to be included on documents by funding the Lao Women’s Union to educate and inform women of their rights. The Lao Women’s Union (LWU) is the official state organization that advocates for gender equity.  For a period of time, the LWU was a very active member of the titling brigades. Gender was integrated into the education, training and information dissemination activities at the village level by the LWU.

Be sure there are at least two signature lines on land documents.

Rwanda (1)

Research indicates that when women are empowered through having secure rights to land, their agricultural productivity improves; they are more included in household decision-making, which has a positive impact on their families; and their income may improve. Here are some examples from Africa and beyond.

Agricultural yields and investment:

  • In Rwanda, land titling boosted land investment among male-headed households by 10% and for female-headed households by nearly twice as much (Ali, et al., 2014).
  • Women’s concern over loss of land reduces their investments in land even when their husbands are alive. In Zambia, secure inheritance rights for widows are associated with higher land investment by married couples, including fertilizer application, fallowing, and use of labor-intensive tillage practices meant to reduce erosion and run-off. Investment is highest when the widow inherits, lower when someone in her family inherits, and lowest when the land reverts to the chief or another family member (Dillon & Voena, 2017).

Inclusivity:

Female farmers are largely excluded from modern contract-farming arrangements because they lack secure control over land, labor, and other resources required to guarantee a reliable flow of produce (FAO-SOFA Team & Doss, 2011; Croppenstadt, Goldstein, & Rosas, 2013).

Secure land rights are important for the well-being of families, whether a woman is head of her household or lives in a household headed by a man (Smith, Ramakrishnan, Ndiaye, & Martorell, 2003). Households where women have rights to land are likely to spend a larger portion of household income on food (Menon, ven der Meulen Rodgers, & Nguyen, 2014); an increase in female landholdings is associated with increases in household food expenditure and levels of child education (Katz & Chamorro, 2002); and children of mothers who own land are less likely to be severely underweight because women have control over household decisions (Allendorf, 2007).

  • In Tanzania, women who reported having strong property and inheritance rights were more likely to be employed outside of the home, more likely to be self-employed, and more likely to have higher gross earnings. Moreover, women in communities with stronger property and inheritance rights for women have greater individual savings (Peterman, 2011). A study in Ethiopia also found that when the larger community of women has land rights, individual women’s rights are improved (Holden & Bezu, 2014).
  • In Ethiopia, in the event of a no-fault divorce, women who brought in some land to the marriage expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of a divorce than those who did not bring land into the marriage, and women who individually own more livestock and hold user rights on a larger share of the household’s land expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of divorce than those with no livestock or a smaller share of household land. In addition, women who bring more assets into the household, either at the time of marriage or through inheritance, have more say in farming decisions (Fafchamps & Quisumbing, 2002).

Labor and Income:

  • In Rwanda, a study by Ali (2017) shows  higher incomes for both men and women, a drop in farm labor, and women’s shift toward self- and wage-employment.

How do we achieve that?

This is a big question with many moving parts. The critical things are to: (1) understand the context, including the law, customs of different groups, the land tenure systems, the political situation, and what women want to focus on—what are the biggest constraints women face (for example, widows lose rights to their land); and (2) understand which land rights you want to secure or improve—the right to use, the right to benefit from, the right to manage/make decisions—and what would make them more secure (longer term, more enforcable, not changed by marital status, etc.).

Ali, D. A., Deininger, K., & Goldstein, M. (2014). Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda. Journal of Development Economics, 110, 262-275.

Allendorf, K. (2007). Do women’s land rights promote empowerment and child health in Nepal? World Development, 35(11), 1975-1988.

Dillon, B., & Voena, A. (2017, January). Inheritance Customs and Agricultural Investment.

Croppenstadt, A., Goldstein, M. , & Rosas, N. (2013). Gender and Agriculture, Inefficiencies, Segregation, and Low Productivity Traps. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Economics Vice Presidency, Partnerships, Capacity Building Unit.

Fafchamps, M., & Quisumbing, A. (2002). Control and Ownership Over Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households. Journal of Development Studies, 38(6).

FAO-SOFA Team, & Doss, C. (2011). The Role of Women and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.

Holden, S., & Bezu, S. (2014). Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?”. As, Norway: Centre for Land Tenure Studies/School of Economics and Business Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Katz, E., & Chamorro, J. (2002). Gender, land rights, and the household economy in rural Nicaragua and Honduras. Madison, WI: USAID/BASIS CRSP.

Menon, N., ven der Meulen Rodgers, Y., & Nguyen, H. (2014). Women’s Land Rights and Children’s Human Capital in Vietnam. World Development, 54, 18-31.

Peterman, A. (2011). Women’s Property Rights and Gendered Policies: Implications for Women’s Long-term Welfare in Rural Tanzania. Journal of Development Studies, 47(1).

Smith, L., Ramakrishnan, U., Ndiaye, A., & Martorell, R. (2003). The Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Developing Countries. IFPRI.

Tanzania (3)

Unfortunately, I could not find specific data on the percentage of women who have obtained title deeds under customary ownership. The figures I was able to get are all from the FAO database and primarily relate to agricultural land: http://www.fao.org/gender-landrights-database/data-map/statistics/en/?sta_id=1164.

According to the agricultural census from 2002, 19.7 percent of agricultural holders were women and 80.3 percent were men. The agricultural holder is the person who makes the major decisions regarding resource use and exercises management control over the agricultural holding

Of total agricultural land owners, 45.2 percent were women and 54.8 percent were men in 2013 (LSMS-ISA 2012-2013). The agricultural landowner is defined as the legal owner of the agricultural land, but the indicator may not necessarily reflect documented ownership certified by a legal document.

Of total household agricultural land, 16 percent is owned by women and 44 percent is owned by men; 39 percent is owned jointly by women and men (LSMS, 2010-2011,[1] Doss et al. 2015)[2]

While the legal framework generally upholds women’s rights to land, in rural areas patriarchal practices predominate whereby men are de facto heads of households and have greater rights to land than women. The law is still weak in regard to women’s inheritance rights to land, and inheritance practices discriminate severely against women (FAO GLRD, country study).

Under the Village Land Act, seven-member Village Land Councils must be comprised of at least three women. The Village Land Council has a minimum quorum of four members, at least two of whom must be women. The Act provides that the nine-member Village Adjudication Committees, tasked in part with safeguarding women’s interests, must be comprised of at least four women. Five members are required for a quorum; at least two of which must be women (FAO GLRD, country study).

The Land Act of 1999 (Part XII) provides the legal framework for shared tenure. The Act recognizes two forms of shared tenure, joint occupancy and occupancy in common. Joint occupancy can only be created among spouses and exists when land as a whole is occupied jointly under a right of occupancy or lease. This means that: (a) there can be no disposition without agreement by all occupiers; (b) the joint occupiers—while alive—can only transfer their interest to the other joint occupier(s); and (c) when a joint occupier dies, interest vests in the surviving occupier (or occupiers, in which case jointly) (FAO GLRD, country study).

With occupancy in common, each occupier is entitled to an undivided share in the whole. The implications are that: (1) any occupier in common needs the consent in writing of the other occupier(s) before he or she can transact his or her interest to another person, but consent cannot be “unreasonably” withheld and (2) when an occupier dies, his or her share becomes part of the estate and his or her heir inherits the land. The legal presumption is that spouses hold all land that is co-occupied and used by both (or all) as occupiers in common, and the presumption of co-occupancy for spouses applies to granted rights (certificate of occupancy) and customary rights (customary certificate of occupancy). Co-occupancy is not presumed, under the Land Act, to apply to land that belonged to one spouse prior to the marriage (FAO GLRD, country study).

The Law of Marriage Act prohibits one spouse from alienating his or her interest in the matrimonial home (including associated agricultural land allocated by a husband or wife to his or her spouse for exclusive use) without the consent of the other spouse(s) (FAO GLRD, country study).

Click Here for a recent article that discusses the issues your question raises.  The article has case studies and gives a good feel for the issues faced by women but does not have hard statistics.


[1] Living Standard Measurement Study (LSMS) survey. LSMS-ISA (LSMS-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture)
[2] Doss, C., Kovarik, C., Peterman, A., Quisuming, A.R., Bold, M.V. den, 2015. Gender inequalities in ownership and control of land in Africa: Myth and Reality. Agricultural Economics 46(2).

Research indicates that when women are empowered through having secure rights to land, their agricultural productivity improves; they are more included in household decision-making, which has a positive impact on their families; and their income may improve. Here are some examples from Africa and beyond.

Agricultural yields and investment:

  • In Rwanda, land titling boosted land investment among male-headed households by 10% and for female-headed households by nearly twice as much (Ali, et al., 2014).
  • Women’s concern over loss of land reduces their investments in land even when their husbands are alive. In Zambia, secure inheritance rights for widows are associated with higher land investment by married couples, including fertilizer application, fallowing, and use of labor-intensive tillage practices meant to reduce erosion and run-off. Investment is highest when the widow inherits, lower when someone in her family inherits, and lowest when the land reverts to the chief or another family member (Dillon & Voena, 2017).

Inclusivity:

Female farmers are largely excluded from modern contract-farming arrangements because they lack secure control over land, labor, and other resources required to guarantee a reliable flow of produce (FAO-SOFA Team & Doss, 2011; Croppenstadt, Goldstein, & Rosas, 2013).

Secure land rights are important for the well-being of families, whether a woman is head of her household or lives in a household headed by a man (Smith, Ramakrishnan, Ndiaye, & Martorell, 2003). Households where women have rights to land are likely to spend a larger portion of household income on food (Menon, ven der Meulen Rodgers, & Nguyen, 2014); an increase in female landholdings is associated with increases in household food expenditure and levels of child education (Katz & Chamorro, 2002); and children of mothers who own land are less likely to be severely underweight because women have control over household decisions (Allendorf, 2007).

  • In Tanzania, women who reported having strong property and inheritance rights were more likely to be employed outside of the home, more likely to be self-employed, and more likely to have higher gross earnings. Moreover, women in communities with stronger property and inheritance rights for women have greater individual savings (Peterman, 2011). A study in Ethiopia also found that when the larger community of women has land rights, individual women’s rights are improved (Holden & Bezu, 2014).
  • In Ethiopia, in the event of a no-fault divorce, women who brought in some land to the marriage expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of a divorce than those who did not bring land into the marriage, and women who individually own more livestock and hold user rights on a larger share of the household’s land expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of divorce than those with no livestock or a smaller share of household land. In addition, women who bring more assets into the household, either at the time of marriage or through inheritance, have more say in farming decisions (Fafchamps & Quisumbing, 2002).

Labor and Income:

  • In Rwanda, a study by Ali (2017) shows  higher incomes for both men and women, a drop in farm labor, and women’s shift toward self- and wage-employment.

How do we achieve that?

This is a big question with many moving parts. The critical things are to: (1) understand the context, including the law, customs of different groups, the land tenure systems, the political situation, and what women want to focus on—what are the biggest constraints women face (for example, widows lose rights to their land); and (2) understand which land rights you want to secure or improve—the right to use, the right to benefit from, the right to manage/make decisions—and what would make them more secure (longer term, more enforcable, not changed by marital status, etc.).

Ali, D. A., Deininger, K., & Goldstein, M. (2014). Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda. Journal of Development Economics, 110, 262-275.

Allendorf, K. (2007). Do women’s land rights promote empowerment and child health in Nepal? World Development, 35(11), 1975-1988.

Dillon, B., & Voena, A. (2017, January). Inheritance Customs and Agricultural Investment.

Croppenstadt, A., Goldstein, M. , & Rosas, N. (2013). Gender and Agriculture, Inefficiencies, Segregation, and Low Productivity Traps. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Economics Vice Presidency, Partnerships, Capacity Building Unit.

Fafchamps, M., & Quisumbing, A. (2002). Control and Ownership Over Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households. Journal of Development Studies, 38(6).

FAO-SOFA Team, & Doss, C. (2011). The Role of Women and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.

Holden, S., & Bezu, S. (2014). Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?”. As, Norway: Centre for Land Tenure Studies/School of Economics and Business Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Katz, E., & Chamorro, J. (2002). Gender, land rights, and the household economy in rural Nicaragua and Honduras. Madison, WI: USAID/BASIS CRSP.

Menon, N., ven der Meulen Rodgers, Y., & Nguyen, H. (2014). Women’s Land Rights and Children’s Human Capital in Vietnam. World Development, 54, 18-31.

Peterman, A. (2011). Women’s Property Rights and Gendered Policies: Implications for Women’s Long-term Welfare in Rural Tanzania. Journal of Development Studies, 47(1).

Smith, L., Ramakrishnan, U., Ndiaye, A., & Martorell, R. (2003). The Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Developing Countries. IFPRI.

While this issue is a concern in many urban and rural settings, there seems to be precious little “how to” information available. What does exist can provide a roadmap, but the details will be dependent on the goal of your project, the current law, and local and national political will.

The most recent research on the topic that I could find comes out of South Africa. I would recommend a book and an article as a good starting place. The book is, UNTITLED: Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa, edited by Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill, Lauren Royston, and Ben Cousins, and published in 2017.

The article is, Land Rights Adjudication: Developing Principles and Processes for ESTA and Labour Tenant Right ’ Holders, and was published in June 2017. The article was written by Dr. Rosalie Kingwill for Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA).

The gist of the idea is this:

• Collect evidence from the ground up to understand the local situation/norms of land use.
• Develop standardized evidentiary principles based on current norms where ‘like units’ can be compared with ‘like units’ across varied tenure landscapes to allow for local variation and diversity.
• Develop a system of adjudication with clear-cut principles against which to test the legality or veracity of individual land rights by authoritative means.

The registry for “off-register” rights could be separate or a part of the main land registry depending on the existing system. Namibia has passed an act designed to create new forms of title to immovable property and to create a register for these forms of title. The system is expected to operate parallel to the existing registration system. Admittedly, including non-ownership rights in an existing registry or creating a new registry will be a slow and difficult process.

Gender Specific Issues

Anytime a census of rights is taken, women are at risk. Women, who use land and depend on it may nonetheless not be considered to have a right to that land. Thus, the evidence collectors will need to be aware that they are collecting information on who has what interest in which land, and that this information should be collected from every adult member in a household, not only the head of household. In addition, a focused effort will be required to ensure that women, as well as men, are provided notice and receive ongoing information and communication throughout the process. Including women often requires separate meetings or other accommodations.

As well, when registering of rights/interests occurs, there is usually a perception of increased value of the land. Where there is a significant power differential between men and women, women can lose their right to use the land, once the value of that land is increased. It will be important to monitor the effect of the information gathering and to communicate with the community about its purpose and the hoped for outcome.

Uganda (2)

There is some research that says, “yes.”  A paper given at the 2018 World Bank Land Conference found that financial conditionality was motivation for joint titling.

Cherchi, Ludovica; Goldstein, Markus; Habyarimana, James; Montalvao, Joao; O’Sullivan, Michael; and Udry, Chris, “Incentives for Joint Land Titling: Experimental Evidence from Uganda,” 2018 World Bank Conference On Land And Poverty, The World Bank – Washington DC, March 19-23, 2018.

That research looked at conditionality and gender information as motivation for joint titling—together and separate—in Uganda. The research found that:

Imposing conditionality raised co-titling probability by 31% among gender uninformed HHs, and by 14% among informed HH.

  • Providing information raised co-titling probability by 16% among HH offered titles unconditionally, and no impact among HH offered titles conditionally.
  • Fully-subsidized land titles successfully generated high overall demand for titling, as well as for co-titling.
  • Imposing gender conditionality on subsidy raised demand for co-titling, without dampening overall demand for titling.
  • Providing additional gender information in isolation further raises demand for co-titling, though not as much as the conditionality, and has no impact on demand for titling.

A reduction in the stamp duty, for lands registered in the name of women, has encouraged women’s property ownership rights in some states in India (e.g. Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi). https://landportal.org/debates/2017/womens-land-rights-india-and-sustainable-development-goals-sdgs

This is a big question, but fortunately, much has been written about gender inequality and land rights in Uganda. There are two documents that I think will be useful. First, is an overview of the law and practice related to women’s land rights—a practice guide— Women’s Land Rights in Uganda and the second is the Ugandan Land Policy.

In brief, the practice guide points out some of the legal issues that continue to limit women’s rights to land (for example a weak inheritance law) and customary law practices that maintain inequality between men and women.

What can be done about it?  Uganda has a very gender positive Land Policy that suggests a complete understanding of the issues facing women. If the Land Policy were to be implemented, gender equality in land rights would be much more likely.

Zambia (2)

Research indicates that when women are empowered through having secure rights to land, their agricultural productivity improves; they are more included in household decision-making, which has a positive impact on their families; and their income may improve. Here are some examples from Africa and beyond.

Agricultural yields and investment:

  • In Rwanda, land titling boosted land investment among male-headed households by 10% and for female-headed households by nearly twice as much (Ali, et al., 2014).
  • Women’s concern over loss of land reduces their investments in land even when their husbands are alive. In Zambia, secure inheritance rights for widows are associated with higher land investment by married couples, including fertilizer application, fallowing, and use of labor-intensive tillage practices meant to reduce erosion and run-off. Investment is highest when the widow inherits, lower when someone in her family inherits, and lowest when the land reverts to the chief or another family member (Dillon & Voena, 2017).

Inclusivity:

Female farmers are largely excluded from modern contract-farming arrangements because they lack secure control over land, labor, and other resources required to guarantee a reliable flow of produce (FAO-SOFA Team & Doss, 2011; Croppenstadt, Goldstein, & Rosas, 2013).

Secure land rights are important for the well-being of families, whether a woman is head of her household or lives in a household headed by a man (Smith, Ramakrishnan, Ndiaye, & Martorell, 2003). Households where women have rights to land are likely to spend a larger portion of household income on food (Menon, ven der Meulen Rodgers, & Nguyen, 2014); an increase in female landholdings is associated with increases in household food expenditure and levels of child education (Katz & Chamorro, 2002); and children of mothers who own land are less likely to be severely underweight because women have control over household decisions (Allendorf, 2007).

  • In Tanzania, women who reported having strong property and inheritance rights were more likely to be employed outside of the home, more likely to be self-employed, and more likely to have higher gross earnings. Moreover, women in communities with stronger property and inheritance rights for women have greater individual savings (Peterman, 2011). A study in Ethiopia also found that when the larger community of women has land rights, individual women’s rights are improved (Holden & Bezu, 2014).
  • In Ethiopia, in the event of a no-fault divorce, women who brought in some land to the marriage expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of a divorce than those who did not bring land into the marriage, and women who individually own more livestock and hold user rights on a larger share of the household’s land expect to receive more land and livestock in the event of divorce than those with no livestock or a smaller share of household land. In addition, women who bring more assets into the household, either at the time of marriage or through inheritance, have more say in farming decisions (Fafchamps & Quisumbing, 2002).

Labor and Income:

  • In Rwanda, a study by Ali (2017) shows  higher incomes for both men and women, a drop in farm labor, and women’s shift toward self- and wage-employment.

How do we achieve that?

This is a big question with many moving parts. The critical things are to: (1) understand the context, including the law, customs of different groups, the land tenure systems, the political situation, and what women want to focus on—what are the biggest constraints women face (for example, widows lose rights to their land); and (2) understand which land rights you want to secure or improve—the right to use, the right to benefit from, the right to manage/make decisions—and what would make them more secure (longer term, more enforcable, not changed by marital status, etc.).

Ali, D. A., Deininger, K., & Goldstein, M. (2014). Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa: pilot evidence from Rwanda. Journal of Development Economics, 110, 262-275.

Allendorf, K. (2007). Do women’s land rights promote empowerment and child health in Nepal? World Development, 35(11), 1975-1988.

Dillon, B., & Voena, A. (2017, January). Inheritance Customs and Agricultural Investment.

Croppenstadt, A., Goldstein, M. , & Rosas, N. (2013). Gender and Agriculture, Inefficiencies, Segregation, and Low Productivity Traps. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Economics Vice Presidency, Partnerships, Capacity Building Unit.

Fafchamps, M., & Quisumbing, A. (2002). Control and Ownership Over Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households. Journal of Development Studies, 38(6).

FAO-SOFA Team, & Doss, C. (2011). The Role of Women and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.

Holden, S., & Bezu, S. (2014). Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?”. As, Norway: Centre for Land Tenure Studies/School of Economics and Business Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Katz, E., & Chamorro, J. (2002). Gender, land rights, and the household economy in rural Nicaragua and Honduras. Madison, WI: USAID/BASIS CRSP.

Menon, N., ven der Meulen Rodgers, Y., & Nguyen, H. (2014). Women’s Land Rights and Children’s Human Capital in Vietnam. World Development, 54, 18-31.

Peterman, A. (2011). Women’s Property Rights and Gendered Policies: Implications for Women’s Long-term Welfare in Rural Tanzania. Journal of Development Studies, 47(1).

Smith, L., Ramakrishnan, U., Ndiaye, A., & Martorell, R. (2003). The Importance of Women’s Status for Child Nutrition in Developing Countries. IFPRI.

From your question, I am not sure how much control you have over the design of the systematic land titling program, but for the purpose of this answer, I will assume that you have a reasonable level of influence over the design.

If possible, from the beginning it is helpful to involve local organizations or local government personnel who have regular positive contact with women in the community to understand the specific context of the area where systematic registration will take place. This can be as simple as a meeting with local women’s organizations or women leaders to discuss the project, provide information about the process and the law as it relates to women, and then to solicit their input and assistance on how best to ensure women know they have a right to be registered as joint or co-owners and how to implement that right. Identifying and involving women’s organizations will help throughout the project. Local organizations can influence men within households, create pressure to jointly register property, as well as oversee that women are included.

Another critical step will be to ensure that all the documents involved in systematic registration have room for at least two names. If there is only one signature line, only the head of household, usually a man, will sign.

Educating and training project personnel, stakeholders, and beneficiaries about the law and about the value and importance of women’s names being included on the documents is also critical. Beneficiaries, both men and women, will need to understand the process for registering, including, what is required for registration (are there identification documents required, for example) and how much it will cost. Registration personnel can be required to explain the law and to have all adults, who use the land in any capacity, present at the time of demarcation of the land

There are positive examples of incentives being offered for jointly registering property. For example, the cost for the registration can be lower for joint registration than individual registration. The stamp duty might be waived for joint registration, or other financial incentives can be provided.

Finally, if possible, having women as well as men hired as personnel on the project can encourage women to be more engaged. Being gender inclusive in hiring registrars, surveyors, and community educators is likely to lead to more women being named on documents.

Module 4 of the FAO technical guide: Governing Land for Women and Men provides a good checklist of practical steps that can be taken.

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