A wealth of global research makes clear that women’s land rights are critical to the success of a host of development goals including poverty alleviation, education, and conservation– not to mention women’s own economic empowerment.
Partners using Cadasta’s suite of tools have an unparalleled opportunity to document and strengthen women’s land rights, further a number of key development goals, and reinforce the ideal that women are equal partners in building a family and a community’s future.
The recommendations below are aimed at strengthening women’s land and property rights, and should be followed regardless of government laws and policies and local customs, which may or may not provide women with equal rights to inherit, manage, and own land and other resources.
Partners who move forward with documenting land and resource rights without including women in the process at every step (as outlined below) may do grave harm to individual women, their families, and their entire community by undermining women and women-headed households.
Cadasta is dedicated to strengthening women and men’s rights to land and other resources. Cadasta encourages its partners to take every opportunity to document and strengthen women’s land rights while using Cadasta’s suite of tools, including:
Include women in decision making and leadership positions on the team that is managing the documentation of land and property rights.
Ensure education efforts specifically targeted at women help women in the community understand the critical importance of ensuring their names and rights are documented.
Ensure education efforts specifically targeted at men make clear the need to document women’s land rights.
Ensure that community leaders, tribal elders, chiefs, and local government officials recognize that documenting women’s land rights is a key part of the land rights documentation process.
Do not only document the head of household’s name. Such an outcome usually biases men as a head of household and will undermine any rights or claims a woman in the house may have to the land or resource. Both men and women’s names should be documented in the same manner for every parcel or resource.
At regular intervals during the documentation of rights, check to ensure that the rights of both women and men are being documented at equal rates and if this is not the case, pause the documentation to address underlying issues.
Ensure that women are included in equal numbers on the teams that will document land rights in the field.
Ensure that the women on these teams are not subservient to the men, but treated as true equals and called upon to speak to the community in the same manner the male members are included.
Ensure that equal numbers of men and women are provided with access to Cadasta technology and provided with training. In some settings, women may need additional training until they are comfortable using a new technology.
Ensure that both women and men have equal access to the data once it is collected and that there is widespread understanding in the community, among both women and men, that the data is available to all, equally, and that it protects all, equally.