This article was originally published by Thomson Reuters Foundation News
“From legislative loopholes to cultural norms, women worldwide still face barriers in accessing land, researchers said on Thursday, despite evidence that tenure rights can protect them from the worsening effects of climate change.
Women make up more than half the global population that relies almost exclusively on land and natural resources for a livelihood. Yet worldwide, only 14% of agricultural landowners are women – with an even smaller share in Africa and East Asia.
Even in countries that recognise women’s tenure rights, they often face practical and social barriers such as negative perceptions about their abilities, said a report from the World Resources Institute (WRI) thinktank and Resource Equity, a non-profit.
“Women have deep historical knowledge of their community lands, and as the ones responsible for working the land, they know how to manage it, and ensure it stays productive,” said Celine Salcedo-La Vina, a research associate at WRI.
Yet policies generally focus on individual rights to household or agricultural land, said Salcedo-La Vina, adding that securing women’s access to communal resources would boost their food security and resilience to climate shocks including drought.
“When women have a seat at the table, their communities see benefits including … food security, investments in children’s health and education, and land management – all of which contribute to a community’s ability to be resilient to climate change.””