Gender and Land Rights Database


Policies/Institutional mechanisms enforcing or preventing women’s land rights

 In 2011, Bangladesh ranked 81 out of 83 non-OECD countries based on women’s access to land, credit, non-land property, and inheritance practices (30).

In 1997, the Government passed the Local Government Election Act, which reserves a quota of seats to women in union councils, to ensure women’s political participation at the grassroots level (17).

Under the 1987 Land Reforms Action Programme (LRAP), the Land Ministry Department set up the Coordination Council for Land Reform, which comprised staff from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), keen on agrarian reform issues. NGOs also contributed in the implementation phase of the LRAP (14). However, in general, only 40 percent of the available land was distributed. The LRAP gradually lost its momentum due to the difficulty in identifying suitable public land, the lack of reliable maps, the large amount of corrupted land deeds and the low level of technical support and capacity (14).

The 1995-2010 Draft Participatory Perspective Plan has the goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against women by empowering women and men as equal partners, in the access to all forms of productive activities and resources (22).

The 1997-2002 Fifth Five Year Plan for rural development included  among its targets: the reduction of poverty in rural areas; the creation of  employment for the rural population; the development of rural infrastructures; the advancement of small and landless farmers. Most of these objectives were women-friendly and included the extension of credit facilities to them (17).

The Rural Development Policy, contained in the 1997-2002 Fifth Five Plan, aimed at  reducing the gender gap through the empowerment of the rural population, the provision of rural micro credit and capacity development activities targeted at women (17).

The 2007 National Agriculture Policy draft has the goal of providing rural women with capacity building programmes as well as access to agricultural inputs, credit training and information. However, the policy makes no reference to increasing women access to land (23).

The Bangladesh Rural Development Board Ordinance of 1982 instituted the Bangladesh Rural Development Board to promote the creation of cooperatives in rural areas and also help them in getting familiar with financial procedures designed to ensure cooperatives’ members with shares and savings (20).

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