The theme for International Women’s Day this year was 'Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. It celebrated and highlighted the remarkable efforts made by women and girls around the globe to shape a more equitable future in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equal access to land has always been the cornerstone of inclusive sustainable development. We know that equality of land tenure offers a safety net for women, and is essential to reducing their vulnerability by offering them collateral, access to credit and markets as well opportunities for income. It will undoubtedly be an essential economic asset for them, especially in the post-pandemic world. With this in mind, we decided to ask our Board Member, freelance consultant and a Principal Consultant of Mokoro Ltd, Dr. Elizabeth Daley, a few questions on the matter.
1. In your experience, describe three reasons why women's land rights are important in your work as a land governance expert.
Through all my work to promote gender-equitable land governance, a clear thread has been the disproportionate gender discrimination faced by women 'as a group' in the majority of the world. This is not to say that all women, or only women, face gender discrimination in access to, ownership and control of land. But women’s land rights, overall, still leave much to be desired. Those with secure rights to land have a stronger interest in its sustainable use and management, which they depend on to support their livelihoods. They also have a stronger interest in actively contributing to community decision-making on land use and management, and a stronger claim to participate on an equal footing with all other land rights holders in all matters of land governance. Promoting women’s land rights – their right to securely access, own and control land – reinforces the case for gender-equitable land governance. In turn, this supports community land rights and land protection efforts, to the benefit of all. It’s a winning combination all round.
2. In your view, what are the biggest challenges for obtaining women's land rights and why?
There are multiple challenges, including women’s own confidence in their ability to know and claim their rights. In my view, however, the bigger challenge is to persuade all land rights activists and policy-makers to fully embrace gender-equitable land governance, and to really put it front and centre. This is perhaps the perennial problem of gender mainstreaming! Only when everyone can see that ensuring women’s land rights is a necessary condition of ensuring land rights and responsible land governance for all – that it’s in everyone’s interests, men and women – will we then be much closer to success.
3. Can you describe the Land Portal's role in raising awareness of land and gender?
The Land Portal has made a massive contribution to raising awareness about land and gender over the years – hosting webinars and debates, promoting blogs and sharing details of new research. I have enjoyed collaborating with Land Portal colleagues in some of these efforts. Land Portal is also innovative, and open to tackling new topics not yet on mainstream policy agendas. For example, in June 2018, Land Portal held a collaborative webinar on Sextortion in Land Governance, with Mokoro and Transparency International, and more recently Land Portal has helped to promote various global campaigns on women’s land rights, such as the Her Land Her Story campaign. It’s really fantastic to have this platform to build links right across the land sector, spreading the message about the importance of women’s land rights and gender-equitable land governance.