Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Women's land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence


Published on

This presentation was given by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Cheryl Doss and Sophie Theis (IFPRI) on 7 September 2018, as part of the webinar 'Women’s land: Beyond “access” to rights'. The webinar was co-organized by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Read more about this webinar at:

Related papers:
- Open access paper, in Agricultural Systems:
- IFPRI Discussion Paper – includes table summarizing each study reviewed:

Find out about other webinars hosted by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research:

Published in: Environment
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Women's land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence

  1. 1. Women’s Land Rights as a Pathway to Poverty Reduction: A framework and review of available evidence Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Cheryl Doss, Sophie Theis
  2. 2. Overview • What Do We Mean by Women’s Land Rights? • Conceptual Framework • Evidence on the Contributions of Women’s Land Rights to Poverty Reduction • Evidence Gaps—What Don’t We Know? • Conclusions/Implications
  3. 3. What Do We Mean by Women’s Land Rights? • Beyond “access”—Rights held by women, not access via men • Individual level—not just FHH • Tenure security: – Robustness/resilience (can withstand challenges, e.g. land grabs) – Duration (long horizon, not changed by change in marital status) – Assurance/enforceability (can present claim, be heard) – Cultural and legal legitimacy (recognized by law, custom, community, family) – Exercisability (informed of rights, understand meaning and how to document) • Beyond “ownership”—Bundles of rights (use, fructus, control) • Often depends on how acquired, social categories of land • Degree of individual vs joint rights However, this data is rarely available in the literature
  4. 4. What Do “they” Mean by Women’s Land Rights? Proxies used: • FHH/MHH • Access to land (land manager) • Self-reported ownership • Land registration • Knowledge of land law/land rights
  5. 5. Links from Women’s Land Rights to Poverty Reduction
  6. 6. Links from Women’s Land Rights to Poverty Reduction ? See Doss, C. and R. Meinzen-Dick. 2018. Women’s land tenure security: A conceptual framework. Background paper. Research Consortium.
  7. 7. Search process: an overview • Focus: studies that documented impacts/associations between WLR and outcomes, NOT the effect of interventions on WLR • Systematic review search protocol • Peer-reviewed publications and working papers, in English, published January 1, 2000 - April 10, 2017 • Online search screening against eligibility criteria. • Additional titles added via “snowballing” sources, reviewing websites of leading land tenure institutions • Included World Bank 2017 Land and Poverty Conference in the pipeline but not yet published in peer-reviewed journals. • 52 studies met the inclusion criteria for the review
  8. 8. Country coverage of studies reviewed
  9. 9. Distribution of studies reviewed by topic Note: some papers examined multiple outcomes 2% 26% 3% 10% 5% 7% 12% 3% 15% 10% 7% Resilience Natural resource management Credit Ag productivity Govt services Livelihoods Empowerment and IPV Full income (food security) Decisionmaking Human capital investment Inheritance and transfers
  10. 10. Distribution of studies reviewed by method 52% 31% 13% 4% Quant/Obs Quant/IE Mixed/Obs Mixed/IE
  11. 11. Agricultural Technology Adoption • West Bengal (Santos et al. 2013): including women’s names on land titles associated with use of improved agricultural inputs • Rwanda land registration didn’t increase use of improved seed (Ali, Deininger, and Goldstein 2014) • Little theoretical reason that land rights affect short- term technology adoption
  12. 12. Natural resource management--1 • 15 studies of long-term investment – 5 impact assessments using some type of formalization as indicator of tenure security, primarily comparing male and female headed households; – 10 observational studies using some form of self- reported tenure security. – All from 7 countries in Africa • Overall evidence: tenure security associated with investment in land, but “tenure security” is complex – Both women’s and men’s tenure security matters
  13. 13. Natural resource management--2 • Land registration programs (Rwanda, Benin, 1st stage Ethiopia) increased adoption of soil conservation; – 2nd stage Ethiopia certification didn’t increase conservation, but also didn’t increase tenure security • Women’s knowledge of legal rights increases investment in soil conservation, trees (Uganda, Ethiopia) • Need to look at local definitions of tenure security – “people invest not only in trees but also in social relationships” (Quisumbing et al. 2004)
  14. 14. Credit • Despite claims that secure land rights improve access to credit, very little evidence (only 2 studies) – Ethiopia (Persha): 2nd tier land registration increased access to credit for both MHH and FHH, larger effect for MHH – West Bengal (Santos et al.): beneficiary hholds in land allocation and registration program more likely than nonbeneficiary hholds to have take bank loan and use credit for agriculture • For WLR to affect credit requires well-functioning credit markets, banking systems that accept land as collateral, and legal systems that adjudicate cases where land is used as collateral.
  15. 15. Agricultural productivity--1 • Many recent studies on men and women farmers (plot managers, etc.) and agricultural productivity, but don’t identify owner of the land • 6 studies directly examine link between WLR and agricultural productivity
  16. 16. Agricultural productivity--2 • 3 quasi-experimental studies; results differ across countries and programs – Ethiopia (Bezabih et al. 2016): value of agricultural output higher in the households with certificates, impact is greater for FHH – Malawi (Mendola and Simtowe 2015): agricultural productivity and income higher for land reform beneficiary households headed by men – Vietnam (Newman et al. 2015): plots with land use certificates have higher productivity; productivity not lower on jointly titled plots.
  17. 17. Agricultural productivity--3 • Observational studies: – Ghana (Goldstein and Udry 2008): women’s lower productivity related to their lower tenure security and lack of fallowing – Malawi (Bhaumik et al. 2016): even if WLR are stronger in matrilineal areas, women may not have access to markets and complementary resources such as capital and hired labor. • Takeaway: tenure security matters, but so does access to markets and complementary resources
  18. 18. Government services Government services usually provided to land owners, but most studies based in urban areas. Studies from rural Tanzania show: – Land ownership is positively correlated with participation in community meetings and household decisionmaking (Grabe 2015); – NGO work to educate women about their land rights strengthened women’s social relations, expanding access to customary authorities, and increasing knowledge of political processes (Goldman et al. 2016)
  19. 19. Livelihoods • Tanzania (Peterman 2011): women’s property and inheritance rights associated with increases in women’s employment outside the home, self employment and earnings. • Studies on women’s ability to rent out land (Ethiopia) (Holden, Akpalu et al.): – Women more likely to rent out land if they have a certificate, if risk of losing land is low, marginal cost of litigation is low • Takeaway: WLR positively associated with livelihood diversification
  20. 20. Resilience • One observational study using panel data in Malawi (Asfaw and Maggio 2017) – High temperature shocks during agricultural season disrupt households’ consumption more when plots solely managed by women – Effects less severe for FHH in matrilineal districts, suggesting that tenure security is also important
  21. 21. Empowerment and domestic violence • Land ownership can decrease HIV risk by reducing women’s need for survival sex (Machomba et al.) • Land and property ownership associated with reduced domestic violence in very different contexts – Kerala, India (Panda and Agarwal): women’s property ownership negatively associated with both long-term and current physical and psychological violence. – Nicaragua and Tanzania (Grabe, Grabe et al.): significant links between land ownership, relationship power, and reduced domestic violence.
  22. 22. Full income • No papers looking at full income per se, but two papers on food security – Ethiopia (Ghebru and Holden 2013): significant positive effects of holding a land certificate on food availability and BMI of children in Ethiopia; effects on calorie availability higher for female-headed households. – West Bengal (Santos et al. 2013): greater women’s decision-making over household food and agriculture among beneficiary households of a land allocation program, but no evidence of significant short-term improvements in food security ( over 2 years)
  23. 23. Bargaining power and decisionmaking over consumption • 3 quasi-experimental studies (India, Peru, Nepal) found positive effects of WLR on women’s decisionmaking outcomes • 6 observational studies (Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sumatra (Indonesia), South Africa, Ghana, India, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania, Karnataka (India): WLR have positive associations with women’s decisionmaking ability and empowerment, but associations are not consistently significant across outcomes and countries, owing to the context specificity of gender norms.
  24. 24. Human capital investment and inheritance • WLR has positive associations with education, nutrition, health of children (Nepal, Vietnam, Ethiopia) • WLR may affect transfers to next generation by increasing the stock of resources to be transferred, or by affecting women’s bargaining power, which would affect the allocation of transfers among sons and daughters. Results vary across contexts.
  25. 25. Summary of Findings Amount of evidence Limited Medium High Levelofagreement Low Suggested but unproven  Other livelihoods Speculative Alternate explanations Medium Tentatively agreed by most but unproven  Credit  Technology adoption  Agricultural productivity Provisionally agreed by most Generally accepted High Agreed but unproven  Poverty reduction Agreed but incompletely documented  Natural resource management  Government services and institutions  Empowerment and domestic violence  Resilience and HIV risk  Consumption and food security Well established  Bargaining power and decision making over consumption  Bargaining power and decision making on human capital investment and intergenerational transfers
  26. 26. Evidence Gaps • Most studies only compare MHH/FHH – Confounds household structure with gender; ignores women in dual adult HHs • Studies concentrated in few countries, mostly Africa • Short-term impacts of reforms, not long-term • Dynamic effects, e.g. with rapid male outmigration • Women’s tenure security in collective tenure; empowerment effects of land rights at community and higher levels • Quality of land • Life cycle effects: land rights for youth and old age security  Nuance needed to understand women’s land rights, if interventions are to be effective in strengthening them
  27. 27. Evidence Gaps • What works to strengthen women’s land rights? – Gender-sensitive registration programs may strengthen WLR, but: • Little quantitative data on effects of gender-blind programs. • Qualitative studies suggest negative effects of poorly designed formalization • Trade-offs between high speed/low cost vs inclusive processes • If technology-driven formalization, how do women participate? – How do women “actualize” their rights (in the face of social pressures, etc.) – Knowledge of land laws is important: by women, men, and land administrators – How to strengthen women’s tenure in collective tenure systems? Internal governance, not just external boundaries
  28. 28. Implications • Women’s land rights are important for empowerment and investment, but they are not a panacea • Framework helps think through downstream impacts (on women, households, communities) – Guidance for program design (e.g. what rights to be strengthened, need for complementary programs, etc.) • Formalization of tenure programs offer serious risks as well as opportunities – Urgent need to address women’s land rights in their design, implementation, and accompanying legal literacy campaigns • Land rights derive from more than state law—embedded in social relations – Strengthening women’s land rights is a process of long-term social change.
  29. 29. Women’s Land Rights as a Pathway to Poverty Reduction: A framework and review of available evidence Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Cheryl Doss, Sophie Theis
  30. 30. Links • Meinzen-Dick, R., Quisumbing, A.R., Doss, C., Theis, S. 2017. Women’s land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence. Agricultural Systems. – Open access • Meinzen-Dick, R., Quisumbing, A.R., Doss, C., Theis, S. 2017. Women’s land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence. IFPRI Discussion Paper. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute. reduction-framework-and-review-available-evidence – Includes table summarizing each study reviewed • Doss, C. and R. Meinzen-Dick. 2018. Women’s land tenure security: A conceptual framework. Background paper. Research Consortium. 2018.pdf