Beyond ownership: tracking progress on women’s land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. Infographic | Land Portal

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December 2016
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Ensuring equal rights in ownership and control over land for women and men is essential to achieve gender equality (SDG5) and eliminate poverty (SDG1). Yet capturing the true status of land rights and measuring progress in the SDGs targets related to land tenure is still a challenge, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where: 1)land tenure is often governed by both customary and statutory laws; 2)large swaths of land remain unregistered and women’s plots are less likely than men’s plots to be documented;3)few surveys capture sex-disaggregated data and inquire about the owners and the managers of land separately; 4) landownership, management and other rights over land are often used interchangeably while they do not always overlap! To capture the real status of land rights in countries and monitor the progress in the SDGs, surveys need to consider the different rights and levels of decision-making over land of women and men. When surveys consider these different bundles of rights over land, evidence from 6 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa shows that: 1)women are disadvantaged not only in the ownership but also in the management of land;2) in most countries, female owners do not manage their lands alone, while female managers do not necessarily own the plot; 3) a significant share of reported owners do not have the rights to sell or use the land as collateral and women are particularly disadvantaged.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

De La O Campos, A. P.

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