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July/August 2003

Rural women's access to land and property in selected countries

This study undertaken jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Land Coalition, analyses information on the status of rural women as provided in selected reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) during 1997-2003. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by 170 countries, is the only human rights treaty body that deals specifically with rural women.

Countries selected for the study were classified as low-income food-deficit (LIFDC) or had recently undertaken land or agricultural reforms. The study analyzes how women's rights were respected or not in those reforms and how their access to land and property, inheritance rights and legal capacity were ensured. Statistics disaggregated by sex on rural population, indigenous population, agricultural and rural labour force, land distribution and ownership were also extracted; as was information on gender units or focal points in technical ministries, gender mainstreaming and national action plans for the advancement of rural women.

The report provides a historic background to the Convention. The working methods of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, including the reporting procedure and the concluding observations are highlighted. Emphasis is put on the role of specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations and the involvement of non-governmental organizations in the work of the Committee.

Click here to see the document in html version. Also available in Word: Paper (2.37 MB) and Annexes (819 KB)

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