Women’s Right to Land and Productive Resources

International Meet Spotlights Women’s Right to Land and Productive Resources

An International Consultation on Women’s Land and Resource Rights held in New Delhi on 13 and 14 November 2005 brought together about one hundred activists, policy makers, legal experts, academics and community women from Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

The event was a collaborative effort between Consult for Women and Land Rights (CWLR), Action Aid India, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Initiatives for Women in Development (IWID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP). It follows a year and a half long process of dialogue at the regional level on the issue of women and land rights, in pursuance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The primary concerns revolved around a substantive human rights perspective while formulating principles for women’s land and resource rights, recognition of women’s role as farmers, land users, producers and sellers, thereby legitimising ownership of land and other assets, as well as women’s need for information and knowledge for protecting rights and ensuring livelihood. The loss of livelihoods as a direct result of government policies supporting destructive globalisation was raised in the context of Tsunami-affected and other states.

Dr.Syeda Hameed, Member of the Planning Commission of India, committed support to the issue and pledged to organise a hearing for all Planning Commission members to incorporate these concerns into the Eleventh National Plan. Ms. Nirmala Venkatesh, Member, National Commission for Women (NCW) stated that the NCW would hold a series of public hearings on women and land rights in different states of India and seek recommendations from the community women on the implementation of their land rights. This would take forward the government plan to ensure that women are beneficiaries of at least 40 per cent of all land redistribution schemes.

Specific concerns included:
• Collection of gender desegregated data on land ownership
• Including women’s name as occupants in land records
• Offering incentives for retaining/transferring land in the name of women family members
• Ensuring equal rights in marital property
• Expanding options for collective ownership or leasing
• Ensuring women’s participation in decision-making related to village commons
• Giving primacy to subsistence use of village commons
• Simplifying and standardising procedures for land title transfers
• Orienting policy implementers on the issue of women and land
• Making government officials responsible to address violations of women’s land rights
• Supporting women land owners
• Supporting women’s resource/knowledge centres

For more information: Consult for Women and Land Rights (CWLR):[email protected]