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Strengthening Womens Property Rights: The Key to Food Security

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  • 1. Strengthening Women’s Property Women s Rights: The Key to Food Security United Nations’ Forty-Ninth Session of the Nations Forty Ninth Commission on the Status of Women March 10, 2005 Presented by Lauren Pandolfelli, IFPRI Thursday, July 30, 2009
  • 2. Overview • Complexity of rights to p y g land and water • IFPRI research findings on the importance of women’s property rights and t i ht d assets • Points of intervention • Recommendations INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 2
  • 3. Complexity of rights to land and water • Separate bundles of rights for different users and different resources • Robustness of rights to withstand challenges • M lti l sources of claims f property rights, Multiple f l i for t i ht including statutory, customary and religious laws • Importance of “interstitial spaces” for women’s interstitial spaces women s production • Dynamism of rights due to population pressure, pressure legal pluralism, and cultural change INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 3
  • 4. In most societies, women’s property rights are weaker than men’s men s • Although usufruct rights may be guaranteed in some societies, women usually obtain access through men (fathers, brothers, husbands) • Indirect access to land plus land, pro-male bias in titling and land reform programs, leads to disadvantaged p g position in acquiring secure rights in a privatized system INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 4
  • 5. Importance of women’s rights to property and other assets Demonstrated Increases in: • Agricultural Productivity • Household Welfare • Women’s Decision-Making • Project Sustainability INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 5
  • 6. Agricultural Productivity Equalizing agricultural inputs between men and women increases agricultural productivity productivity. • In Kenya, equalizing levels of education, experience, y q g p and farm inputs between men and women increases women’s yields for maize, beans, and cowpeas by 22 %. • In Bangladesh, new vegetable technologies disseminated by NGOs and targeted to women are more profitable than traditional agriculture (controlled by men) INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 6
  • 7. Household Welfare Distribution of assets within the household matters • In Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sumatra and South Africa, assets in the hands of women leads to greater expenditures on child schooling • I Bangladesh, a hi h proportion In B l d h higher ti of pre-wedding assets held by the mother decreases the morbidity of girls il INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 7
  • 8. Women’s Decision-Making Power Gender equity in access is a valuable outcome in its own right • In Bangladesh, assets targeted to women leads to greater mobility for women, increased political awareness, and fewer incidents of domestic violence fd ti i l • In Mexico, wife’s education and work experience is associated with her making decisions by herself INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 8
  • 9. Project Sustainability Attention to gender improves project sustainability • A review of 271 World Bank projects by IFPRI shows that when projects address gender, their g , sustainability increases by 16 % INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 9
  • 10. Yet, there have been relatively few interventions designed to improve gender equity in land • Assumption that the household functions as one unit and men and women pool their resources • Few empirical studies documenting consequences of unequal access t l d on rural li lih d on an l to land l livelihoods individual basis • Cultural and political resistance to giving women land rights on their own • Limited information about the distribution of property rights between men and women, on cross-national basis INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 10
  • 11. Ways of Strengthening Women’s Property Rights • Legal Reform of inheritance laws or provision for joint titling of land • Community Programs have the potential to change g gendered p power relations • Collective Action Programs enable women to acquire management, and often exclusion, rights over resources g , , g • Technology Interventions directed to meet women’s needs, increase the value of women’s labour • Credit, Information, and Inputs enable more productive use of land INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 11
  • 12. Recommendations Reform and monitor legal institutions to attain gender equity in property rights • Legal reforms are necessary to strengthen women’s entitlements and to make their claims over natural and physical assets more enforceable. • Legal reforms must be accompanied by legal-literacy legal literacy campaigns so that both men and women are aware of such changes • Women need access to administrative and judicial channels INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 12
  • 13. Recommendations (cont.) Develop technologies to increase the returns to women’s labor in the agricultural sector women s sector. • Technologies that increase returns to women’s labor may women s increase bargaining power and rights to land • In Ghana, cocoa farms increased demand for women’s labor so much that husbands gave “gifts” of land in return for labor INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 13
  • 14. Final Note: From Research to Action Women’s property rights are complex, dynamic and vary according t i t d di to intersecting id titi ti identities •Identify key gender/tenure interactions for each site y yg •Use cost-effective diagnostic tools to ensure stakeholder participation •Assess the multiple entry points through which women’s rights over resources can be strengthened o er reso rces INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Page 14