This episode of LandUP! addresses an often overlooked topic by discussing the land rights of widowed women. Widowed women face vastly different hurdles and challenges when it comes to accessing land and this moment of their lives is worth exploring. With this in mind, we spoke to human rights lawyer Faith Alubbe, land economist Nana Ama Yirrah and Mokoro Principal Consultant and Land Portal Board Member Dr. Elizabeth Daley about widowhood and how women's land rights are often tied to a man's, with a specific focus on Africa.
Women’s land and property rights are increasingly understood as an important driver of economic
growth and social development, as well as being critical to human rights for women. Growing evidence
confirms that women’s land and property rights lead to important social and economic outcomes for
women and their families.Yet around the world, women remain significantly disadvantaged
Women represent a large part of the 2.5 billion people who depend on lands managed through customary, community-based tenure systems and are especially reliant on commons for their lives and livelihoods. They have very often limited and unsecured access to land and natural resources and tend to be excluded from decisions concerning them.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1.4.2 and 5.A.1 refer to the strengthening of women’s land and property rights as a fundamental pathway towards poverty reduction and women’s empowerment. Securing women’s land and property rights can increase agricultural productivity, incentivise the adoption of climate-resilient natural resource management and increase household spending on health and education.
Gender equality guidelines will motivate Zambia’s traditional leaders to champion women’s rights in land and resource management
Women in Zambia, like in most countries, have less access to land, productive resources, and opportunities than men. Due to discriminatory gender norms that view men as heads of household, men typically have more decision making power at both the household and community level. This leads women to have less of a voice in decisions about land use, income earning opportunities, household finances, and community resource distribution.