Securing women’s resource rights through gender transformative approaches.

About the project

In 2020, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invited a consortium of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry Centre (CIFOR-ICRAF), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to work with selected IFAD projects to promote and strengthen women’s land rights through the integration of gender transformative approaches (GTAs) in rural development interventions by improving policies, tools and practices.

The Challenge

Access to land and resources and control over them are vital components of women’s empowerment. Land is a critical physical asset but also has a social role, defining social status and political power and structuring relationships both within and outside the household.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls for equal rights to economic resources, ownership and control of land, and women’s access to resources. However, women continue to be disadvantaged by lack of recognition and insecure rights to land and resources and by exclusion from decision making and governance systems from local to national levels.

Barriers that prevent women’s access to, control and use of land and other productive resources depend on local contexts. Such barriers include inadequate legal frameworks, ineffective implementation of policy at national and local levels, and discriminatory cultural attitudes and practices at institutional and community levels. If not recognized and proactively addressed, investments and development initiatives in the agricultural sector can reinforce or even exacerbate such inequalities.

Understanding and addressing the institutional barriers women face across different scales is essential both to achieve gender equality and to secure rights and access to land.

Initiative objectives

  • To enhance the recognition and protection of women’s land rights (WLR) in targeted countries.
  • To contribute to the creation of conditions that would enable women’s enjoyment of land rights over time.
  • To design and deploy innovative and participatory gender transformative approaches (GTAs) that contribute to the increased recognition and protection of WLR in targeted countries.
  • To engage key stakeholders at local and national levels to build capacities and ensure that evidence and experiences from country-level pilots inform relevant policy and implementation processes.
  • To generate evidence-based recommendations and share best practices for integrating GTAs into IFAD’s global portfolio and advocacy strategy.

What is resource tenure

Resource tenure arrangements define the set of rights and responsibilities over who uses, extracts, manages and controls the natural resources (e.g., soil, water and wood) of the land. Resource tenure covers more than formal property rights recognised by governments, such as land titles or state forests. It also refers to the unwritten, informal practices through which rural people gain (or are restricted from) access to natural resources.

What are land rights?

When we talk about land rights, we refer to a broad set of formal and informal rules, norms and practices that regulate the ways in which women and men access, manage and benefit from land under different tenure arrangements. These factors influence the ways in which women access land, and also their abilities to make decisions over land, the security of tenure, and their abilities to benefit from their land rights.