Gender and Land Rights Database


Normas consuetudinárias, crenças religiosas e práticas sociais que influem no direito à terra diferenciada por gênero

In rural areas, customary law is applied, although with considerable variations across regions and groups.

Most Muslim groups, which are concentrated in the Southern part of the country, tend to exclude women from the administration of the property. The management of family land is under men’s control, and women have little or no independent land ownership (11). In some Muslim groups, women’s mobility outside the home is also constrained (3).

However, many ethnic groups from the north and the centre do not discriminate against women. Both men and women can hold land, as it happens among the Ilocano population, and have exclusive management rights over their individual property.

Among the Pangasinense, the husband is considered the administrator of the family property; however, he must get the consent of the wife for land transfers (11).

Autoridades tradicionais e instituições consuetudinárias


Práticas de fato na herança

- Most ethnic groups use bilateral inheritance systems whereby both male and female descents may inherit. Succession norms follow either the primogeniture system, by which land is inherited by the eldest male or female child, as among the Ifugao population, or the equal sharing system, by which all male and female heirs inherit equally, as it happens among the Pangasinense. The surviving spouse may not inherit, but holds the land in trust for the children (11).

- Muslim groups are patrilineal and follow patrilineal inheritance practices, where land is passed along the male line (11).

Discrepâncias e vazios entre direito escrito e leis consuetudinárias

- Although Section 40(5) of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 states that “All qualified women members of the agricultural labour force must be guaranteed and assured equal rights to ownership of land”, among some ethnic groups and Muslim groups, access to land is reserved for men only (11). 

- The 1987 Civil Code provides for equal inheritance rights but in practice, parents tend to leave lands to sons, while ensuring the future of daughters by investing in their education (3).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography