Gender equity and land: Toward secure and effective access for rural women

Susana Lastarria-Cornhiel*, Julia Andrea Behrman, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes R. Quisumbing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Scopus citations


Land is one of the most fundamental assets in the agricultural sector because it is the gateway through which people gain access to many other assets and opportunities. This chapter examines gender and land issues, identifying the gender gap in land rights and examining ways to redress this gap. The first section frames the discussion in terms of the four major ways by which women acquire legal and customary rights to land, and the obstacles to women's secure land tenure. The second section explores the nature and extent of the global gender land gap and the importance of going beyond common notions such as management, ownership, and headship, when discussing land tenure security. The third section looks at a number of strategies undertaken by a variety of actors—including governments, aid agencies, and civil society organizations—to lessen the gender land gap, organized broadly around three types of interventions: Strengthening women's land rights, redistribution of land rights, and improving the implementation of reforms. The chapter concludes that closing the gender land gap must go beyond reforms that affect only landownership, to include those that affect the multiple ways through which women and men acquire land, whether through legal or statutory means, the family, the market, or civil society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGender in Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationClosing the Knowledge Gap
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789401786164
ISBN (Print)9789401786157
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Communal land
  • Gender
  • Inheritance
  • Land
  • Land reform
  • Property rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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