The past century has seen divergent models for agriculture land tenure and rural resource distribution. From cooperatives to collectives, from privatization to the expansion of multinational agribusiness, a basic lesson has been learned: countries that have made the political and financial commitment to ensuring property rights for both women and men have developed much faster with a higher level of food security, health and welfare.
Yet, to be effective, efforts must consider the complex forces at work in traditional cultures. Socio-cultural values and practices, as well as socio-economic changes that may limit womens access to and control of land, need to be acknowledged and understood. Efforts to achieve gender equality need to include the following:
Legal frameworks which explicitly state that both women and men have the right to own property. To be effective, they must include and enhance already existing customary or traditional land tenure systems. If conflicts between different systems are not resolved, a risk remains that the least favourable approach will be applied to women.
Full stakeholder participation. The participation of local stakeholders is essential for the success of a programme. Unless all parties respect the programme and feel it is their own, they will hesitate to give their full cooperation.
Programmes on the local level must take into account the particular obstacles that certain sectors of the population such as women experience in participating in land programmes, and how the information is communicated, is key.
Better information disaggregated by sex. Without this information, it is difficult to determine how many women benefit from agrarian and legislative reform programmes. Decision-makers need to consider successes and failures. Improvements must also be made in the collection, tabulation, dissemination and use of this data.
Equal access to alternative forms of ownership, such as cooperatives and marketing associations. They provide essential knowledge, access to credit and agricultural inputs.
Women are often excluded from decision-making processes. Giving women equal access to participating in these groups may have the benefit of recognizing womens management skills, which may translate into other entrepreneurial activities. This can open up opportunities for credit and financing, thus adding value to local and national development activities.
Consideration of gender differentiated information in land reform. When commissioning studies for economic, legal or social programmes, countries should ensure that the data collected and analysed is sex-disaggregated.
Gender sensitization programmes that inform women and men on the importance of equal rights. Legal literacy campaigns and training can help to explain the positive relationships between law and rural productivity. Programmes that raise awareness of womens rights can break down socio-cultural and institutional barriers.
· Integrating Gender in Land Tenure Programmes Findings and Lessons from Country Case Studies. Susana Lastarria. 2002
· Aspectos jurídicos en el acceso de la mujer a la tierra: Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua y República Dominicana. Beatriz Galán. 1998