Gender and Law - Women's Right in Agriculture

Author: Lorenzo Cotula (FAO Legal Office)

FAO Legislative Study, Number 76, 2002. Revised version, 2007.

This study analyses the gender dimension of agriculture-related legislation, examining the legal status of women in three key areas: rights to land and other natural resources; rights of women agricultural workers; and rights concerning women’s agricultural self-employment activities, ranging from women’s status in rural cooperatives to their access to credit, training and extension services. The study also focuses on national legal systems, examining the legislation and case law of ten countries reflecting different cultural environments and legal traditions. Particular attention is paid to customary norms, which are applied in the rural areas of many of the covered countries, and more generally to socio-cultural practices affecting the application of statutory legislation. The result is an analysis identifying the main legal and some non-legal factors that affect the existence and exercise of women’s agriculture-related rights. A correct understanding of these factors is necessary in order to identify the legislative and other interventions that are required to improve women’s rights.



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