There is an underlying tension in the land rights movement that is rarely addressed head on, which is the perception that securing women’s land rights threatens community land rights. Community land rights are typically held by indigenous people, small-scale and subsistence farmers, pastoralists, herders and many other groups who are directly dependent on land for their livelihoods but whose land tenure is often the most precarious.
The debate about compensation of former white farmers in Zimbabwe continues to rage. The compensation agreement signed in July agreed a total amount of US$3.5 billion to pay for ‘improvements’ to the land that was expropriated. After 20 years of discussion, this was a major step forward. However, there seem to be multiple positions on the agreement and little consensus, along with much misunderstanding. However, some things are happening, and a joint resource mobilisation committee has been established with technical support from the World Bank and others.
Advancing women’s land rights is a priority for the international development agenda. Yet, there is no consensus on which rights should be monitored and reported. Three indicators of women’s property rights are widely used in the literature. Each captures a different aspect of women’s land rights, but a recent paper explores the extent to which these different rights are held by the same person, using data from six African countries.