How can the abstract principles of the human rights-based approach (HRBA) be translated into practical strategies to improve women's ownership and access to land? In Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya, despite changes in national law and policy aiming to improve women's land tenure, none of the land reforms meet human rights standards. This is because legal regulation of land blurs with customary laws mostly relating to land transactions and family, marriage or inheritance. The mix of both systems often has a detrimental impact on women's ability to claim their land rights. HRBA is useful because it helps to standardise laws and put into place mechanisms that protect women from direct and indirect discrimination. Recommendations of the report include: the need for a gender impact assessment on any land reform process, measures to educate and inform women of their rights, and legal institutions to support women when their land rights have been violated.
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BRIDGE is a research and information programme located within IDS Knowledge Services. We are part of a global movement whose vision is a world where gender equality, dignity and social justice prevail, where poverty is eliminated and where human rights – including women’s rights - are realised.