Land rights formalization and titling campaigns have improved land tenure security for millions of rural people over the past decades. But while many have benefitted, others have been left out, and risks are often highest for women.
With growing global recognition of women’s land rights as a central factor in achieving social development goals, many countries have adopted gender equitable policies in land rights formalization, requiring, for example, joint spousal registration for land held by married couples or for any couple living in a long-term “marriage-like” relationship.
However, marriage informality is a widespread phenomenon, and emerging evidence points to the risk that land rights formalization efforts may systematically exclude rural women who live with partners in informal marriages. Formalization programs that fail to recognize and include these “invisible” wives risk leaving them worse off than they were before, by permanently assigning rights to the land on which they live and work solely to male partners.
- Anne Hennings, Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator, Land Portal Foundation
- Jennifer Duncan, Land rights, justice and social inclusion expert, Global Land Alliance
- Laura Bermúdez, Impact Evaluation and Public Consultation Specialist, Global Land Alliance
- Patricia Chaves, Director, Espaco Feminista
- Julia Madariaga, Anthropologist, Colombia
- Justine N. Uvuza, Senior Land and Gender Policy Advisor, Landesa, UK
- Nana Ama Yirrah, Founder and Executive Director, Colandef