Her Land Her Story and the Importance of Centering Women in our Work

April 26, 2018 - 3 minutes read

On Friday, April 20th, I had the pleasure of participating in the Her Land Her Story webinar, co-hosted by the Cadasta Foundation, the Land Portal Foundation, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It was a wonderful chance to learn more about the Her Land Her Story campaign, which launched on International Women’s Day and ran until April 13th. It featured the stories of 27 different women from around the world to raise awareness of the importance of women’s land rights.

The panelists included representatives from Cadasta, Land Portal, Landesa, and Suelo Urbano. What struck me most was that all five of us, despite different backgrounds and different perspectives, had the same core message about how and why to secure women’s rights to land. To truly ensure that women’s rights are secure, we need to get both political and social buy-in, to pay attention to and respect culture, and to include the whole community from the beginning of any effort.

Most importantly, we must start with and include women. I presented on Resource Equity’s Starting with Women approach, which is a structured process for making sure women are never an afterthought in projects. Its core is about designing projects in a way that respects the autonomy and self-determination of women. Women’s needs and aspirations are the drivers of a project throughout its life.

We know that the approach of working with women, individually and in groups, and engaging the whole community works. Women themselves bring creativity and local perspectives to our work.

The next step is ensuring we have good, solid research behind us. Resource Equity’s Research Consortium is a hub for the collection, sharing, and exchange of knowledge. The ultimate goal of the Consortium is to effectively secure women’s land and resource rights around the world.

We are doing this by collecting the existing evidence on interventions, including what we know works, and curating that evidence, identifying where there are gaps, and sharing that curation on the website.

Most importantly, our aim is to create and sustain a thriving community of researchers and practitioners, with a shared language and framework for talking about evidence on women’s land tenure security.

This webinar and the Her Land Her Story campaign have been welcome reminders of the importance of centering women in our work. Visit our Starting with Women approach here and our Research Consortium here to learn more about how we do that.