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Gender project officer with Tanzania Natural Resource Forum

Click here to read the full Terms of Reference. The deadline to apply is April 11th.

With global attention focused on inequitable land-related investments, governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector have come together to improve land governance and investment practices. The African Union’s Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), and other standards and principles are emblematic of the international community’s commitment to improving policy and practice leading to socially responsible land-related investments.
The Responsible Investments in Property and Land (RIPL) project contributes to these on-going global efforts by supporting the participation and empowerment of communities, governments, and investors in such investments. Significantly, RIPL is committed to facilitating gender-equitable investments in land to ensure that women and men are not harmed by such investments and that women and men share equally in the benefits of investments.
The primary output of the RIPL project, in partnership with local land tenure experts, is the development of how-to guides, called “Playbooks,” for each stakeholder group (one for communities, one for investors, and one for government). The Playbooks will be developed in two focus countries—Tanzania and Ghana. These country-specific Playbooks will, in turn, inform the development of Model Playbooks that can be used as templates in other countries.

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New publication: Gender, headship, and the life cycle: Landownership in four Asian countries


Originally posted on the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) blog

Despite increasing evidence that households do not always function as one, policies regarding land and property rights are often formulated at the household level, assuming the primary adult male is the landowner. Because land policy reform has typically focused on changing household, rather than individual, rights to land, many of the data are collected at the household rather than the individual level. As a result of a combination of these factors, securing women’s land rights has remained a largely unaddressed issue by policymakers.

So as to inform the formulation of policies and interventions to strengthen women’s land rights, a new discussion paper by Kathryn Sproule, Caitlin Kieran, Agnes Quisumbing, and Cheryl Doss analyzes data from Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam to understand the processes by which men and women acquire land; the social, cultural, and legal institutions surrounding gender and landownership; and the role of individual and household characteristics influencing an individual’s ability to own land.

The authors’ finding that women own less land than do men across different household structures and that intrahousehold gender inequality is higher in households with larger landholdings suggests an agenda for future research and policy that strengthens women’s land rights within marriage, and protects them should the marriage dissolve.

Citation: Sproule, Kathryn; Kieran, Caitlin; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; and Doss, Cheryl. 2015. Gender, headship, and the life cycle: Landownership in four Asian countries. IFPRI Discussion Paper 1481. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


This work was undertaken as part of PIM’s cross-cutting gender research.

Featured image: Calling it a day, Flickr, photo credit Staffan Scherz

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Takeaways from twenty years of gender and rural development research at IFPRI: Closing gender gaps in agriculture through property rights and governance

Photo: Milo Mitchell. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Images)

Photo: Milo Mitchell. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Images)

The following blog by IFPRI gender experts Sophie Theis, Agnes Quisumbing, and Ruth Meinzen-Dick is the second in a four-part series leading up to the Policy Seminar on “Beijing +20 and Beyond: How Gender Research Is Changing the Landscape of Food Policy,” to be held on October 14, 2015 at IFPRI’s Washington, DC headquarters. This blog originally appeared on IFPRI.org.

To commemorate Beijing+20, we are taking stock of research at IFPRI over the past 20 years that contributed to advancing gender equality by generating evidence from action, and compelling action from the evidence produced.

This blogpost, part two in a four-part series on IFPRI gender research in the past 20 years, shares key takeaways from research on themes of:

  • closing gender gaps in agricultural productivity
  • access, control, and ownership of assets
  • land rights
  • legal institutions and governance

Tune in to the next post in the blog series to read highlights from IFPRI gender research related to social capital, sustainability, and health. See full list of publications (PDF 94K). Then join us on October 14th for anIFPRI policy seminar celebrating Beijing+20.

Continue reading

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Publication: Environmental and Gender Impacts of Land Tenure Regularization in Africa: Pilot Evidence from Rwanda

Although increased global demand for land has led to renewed interest in African land tenure, few models to address these issues quickly and at the required scale have been identified or evaluated. The case of Rwanda’s nation-wide and relatively low-cost land tenure regularization program is thus of great interest.

A new working paper paper by the World Bank (Authors: Daniel Ayalew Ali, Klaus Deininger, and Markus Goldstein, August 2011) evaluates the short-term impact (some 2.5 years after completion) of the pilots undertaken to fine-tune the approach using a geographic discontinuity design with spatial fixed effects. Three key findings emerge from the analysis.

  • First, the program improved land access for legally married women (about 76 percent of married couples) and prompted better recordation of inheritance rights without gender bias.
  • Second, the analysis finds a very large impact on investment and maintenance of soil conservation measures. This effect was particularly pronounced for female headed households, suggesting that this group had suffered from high levels of tenure insecurity, which the program managed to reduce.
  • Third, land market activity declined, allowing rejection of the hypothesis that the program caused a wave of distress sales or widespread landlessness by vulnerable people. Implications for program design and policy are also discussed.

Access the working paper here.

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News: Ghana: Group Puts Women’s Inheritance Rights Under Spotlight

Source: AllAfrica


The right of women to inherit their deceased husbands is one that has faced great resistance from adherents of traditional customs and some religious sects in most African societies, and therefore requiring concerted efforts to bring about the needed change that will recognise women as equal partners in relationships, with inalienable right of succession in the event of their spouses predeceasing them.

The denial of women’s succession rights in recent times has been compounded in situations where a male spouse dies from HIV/AIDS. In Ghana, some communal societies pour scorn on the female spouse, often accusing her of being the one who had infected the deceased with the virus. The woman is usually, in circumstances as depicted, driven away with her children from their matrimonial home and dispossessed of all the properties that commonly belonged to the couple, rendering the woman and her children destitute. Continue reading

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Event: Insight to Action Gender and Property Rights

Women’s property rights, especially access to land, are increasingly recognized as critical to achieving poverty reduction and gender equality.  However, many women are unable to realize their rights.

ICRW’s research and programmatic work in gender and property rights aims to advance knowledge on how women’s and men’s property rights are measured and to strengthen community-based programs addressing women’s property rights. Through the Gender, Asset and Land Survey (GLAS) in Uganda and South Africa, ICRW and partners have gathered evidence on the spectrum of women’s property rights, including their ownership, use and control over land, housing and other assets. Through the Community-based Paralegal Program in Uganda, ICRW works with community-based legal aid organizations to develop their capacity in gender and in monitoring and improve their ability to protect women’s property rights.

ICRW will discuss the results of the first phases of these two projects. The discussion will include lessons from: piloting a new methodology to collect data on gendered property rights and key findings from Uganda and South Africa; evaluating a pilot community-based legal aid program as an approach to supporting women’s property rights; and recommending next steps for moving forward.

This is a brown bag seminar, with drinks and light snacks provided.

RSVP to Gwenn Hollingworth at ghollingworth@icrw.org or 202-742 -1236


  • Krista Jacobs, Economist
  • Meredith Saggers, Economist, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist


Thu, 06/23/2011 – 12:30pm – 2:00pm



International Center for Research on Women

1120 20th Street N.W. Suite 500 North

Washington, DC 20036

United States


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News: MALAWI–Women Claim Equal Share of Family Property

Collins Mtika
MZUZU, Malawi, Dec 29 – Seated on a wooden bench at her Katoto township house in Mzuzu, Grace Mkandawire’s face reflects the traumatic experiences she has endured since her husband’s death in 1998. She looks lost and confused and as she narrates her story there is fear, hatred and resignation that Malawi’s Marital Property Law of (1882) disenfranchises poor women like her.

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Event (London): Empowering women, reducing child poverty and enabling women to inherit

Tuesday 12 October, 13.00-14.30 – ODI, London

It is estimated that women worldwide own only 1-2% of individually titled land. This is despite making up more than 80% of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Assets can be an important source of social mobility and in low income developing countries land is the key asset. It is the primary source of wealth, social status, and power and provides the basis for shelter, food, and economic activities. Conversely, limited access to and control of land can restrict livelihood opportunities; constrain coping strategies in the face of negative events and inhibit investments in human capital formation. So, although women are central figures in producing food, they can commonly only access land through their husbands, fathers, sons or brothers. Land is commonly obtained through inheritance but women are rarely allowed to inherit land. This matters because women’s lack of control of this key resource influences the power that women have within their household and in wider society, their ability to leverage credit to invest in agriculture or other livelihood activities and their vulnerability to downward mobility on separation, divorce or widowhood. This, in turn, has implications for women’s ability to invest in their children or pass on their wealth – with implications for the life-long incomes of the next generation. Continue reading

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Call for Proposals: Fund for Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in the Context of HIV/AIDS

UNIFEM (part of UN Women), with the generous contribution of the Canadian International Development Agency, today launches a Call for Proposals for the Fund for Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in the Context of HIV/AIDS. The Fund will provide small, catalytic grants totaling US$700,000 in 2010 to grassroots and community-based organizations or networks in sub-Saharan Africa working to improve women’s access to property and inheritance rights within the context of HIV/AIDS. Continue reading

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PUBLICATION: Women and Landed Property in Urban India

This paper examines land tenure in informal urban settlements in India from a gender perspective through field research conducted in Ahmedabad in collaboration with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). The author describes the formal and informal tenure arrangements that were in place in these settlements and analyses their implications for women. She proceeds to raise key issues that need consideration in developing a gender-equitable vision of urban land rights, tenure and reform. These include more widely established issues such as tenuous inheritance rights of daughters and the challenges of securing joint property titles for married women as well as emerging issues such as the obstacles faced by slum-dwelling rentees, the largely unsubstantiated fears of gentrification and market eviction associated with tenure security, and the legal and practical challenges of translating the ‘right of residence’ into the ‘right of ownership’. In each case, the author also draws out policy recommendations for redressing the discrepancies in women’s ownership of urban land and housing in India. Available here (pdf).