Women’s land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence
This report (PDF) by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reviews the literature on women’s land rights (WLR) and poverty reduction. Despite the large body of literature on the relationship between land tenure security, livelihoods, and poverty, most of this literature is based on household-level data and does not consider possible intra-household inequalities in land ownership. However, growing evidence that households do not pool resources completely and that women have fewer assets than men warrants attention to the potential role of WLR in poverty reduction. The Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project conceptual framework is adapted to identify pathways by which WLR could reduce poverty. Results show some evidence on these relationships, but many of the key pathways have not been empirically analyzed. The evidence is strong for relationships between WLR and bargaining power and decision making on consumption, human capital investment, and inter-generational transfers. There is a high level of agreement, but weaker evidence on the relationship between WLR and consumption and food security, which is examined in two papers. Significant positive effects were found of certificate ownership in Ethiopia on food availability and body mass index (BMI) of children. The effects on calorie availability (but not BMI) were higher for female-headed households. In the study of a land allocation and registration program in West Bengal greater women’s decision making over household food and agriculture among beneficiary households were found, but no evidence of significant short-term improvements in food security.