Land policies: The fun­da­mental im­port­ance of fair land own­er­ship rights

Despite women's significance in rural development, only around 10 to 20 per cent of women own land. x 80 to 90 per cent of women therefore lack an important form of collateral to obtain financial services such as loans.

Their access to resources, raw materials, markets, education, market information and general information is then comparatively less. That the holders of formal or informal land rights are predominantly men is often due to cultural, traditional as well as legal factors.

Women, and especially widowed or divorced women, are clearly disadvantaged in having access to land. Women are also often under-represented in rural organisations and less informed about their rights. This reduces their opportunities for participation and decision-making.

Po­ten­tials of equal land rights:

Infografik (Kopie 1)

  • Women
  • Men

Despite their importance for rural development, only about 10 to 20 per cent of all women own land.

  • As important sources of knowledge and decisive actors in the agricultural sector, women are necessary for getting land policy to become equitable.
  • Under equitable laws, access, ownership and land use, women will become change agents. Securing access to land for women will improve household incomes and thereby also the general nutritional situation, especially for children. x
  • It has been proven that women, compared to men, invest more in better nutrition and schooling for their children.
  • Equal access to land and other agricultural production factors is thus a major contribution to fulfilling basic human rights and empowering women economically.

Ap­proaches to strenghten land policies

A variety of approaches are possible at regional and country level to reinforce land rights for women. Such approaches include supporting and advising governments and institutions to record and disseminate gender-differentiated data on access to land. Women's situations can also be improved by promoting relevant NGOs and educating trainers to advise women's organisations within small communities.


  1. Source: FAO Gender and Lands Rights Database
  2. Source: Sida (2015): Women and Land Rights, S.1