In my line of work I think a good deal about women’s land rights—every day in fact. After working for over 20 years on helping women gain legal and social rights to the land they use, I am frustrated by the slow progress of the work being done. There has been progress, of course, but I am impatient—even a little bit exasperated. I know others in the field feel the same way and we all wonder why progress seems to happen so slowly.
There are many complicating factors, and I could write a book on the nuances of the truly difficult issues facing rural women. But the thing that really bothers me is this: after all the great gender strategies written up and approved by foreign aid organizations around the world, after all the important people finally taking notice that supporting rural women’s right to land and their economic empowerment is “smart economics,” and after all the grants that require gender be considered when implementing land projects, we still get it wrong over and over again, and women, whose livelihoods depend on us getting it right, lose.
So what is it going to take to change the rate of progress? I have a few suggestions.
We are excited to announce the newly updated LandWise Library website. LandWise is Resource Equity’s online library for primary legal materials, articles, and other practical resources. These resources are organized by country, topic, language, and document type. To see a quick overview of the library’s contents you can visit the browse page.
In addition, LandWise houses a number of women’s land rights and land tenure security practice guides and tools that were created specifically to assist practitioners working in the field of women’s land rights. These guides include general frameworks for understanding land rights and inheritance and country-specific guides for Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
LandWise was initially launched in 2013. Over the years we continued to maintain and populate the library as new research was published and new laws were passed. However, as with any digital tool, the need for site maintenance increased as time went by. We recognized that LandWise was long due for a larger overhaul!