Many of the women who have migrated from rural areas to urban slums have done so as a result of insecure land rights, such as the disinheritance of widows. While the focus on and improvement of women’s rural land rights will have an overall impact on women’s economic and social security, what are women currently living in urban slums experiencing?
There are several organizations that are doing work in this area; specifically, UN Habitat has several projects and initiatives focused on addressing land formalization in urban slums. One of the approaches regarding formalizing land rights is readjustment: An organization or government selects an area, researches land ownership, records and formalizes this ownership, develops infrastructure to support and integrate the slum into the public service system, and then reallocates the land.
Given that many of the people living in slums are tenants or squatters, many with no formalized rental agreements, and that women outnumber men, we can begin to see how these types of programs might adversely impact impoverished women living in these urban areas.
Overall, our takeaway from this research is simple: More needs to be done. There isn’t a lot of focus on this topic, and so there needs to be even more research on how urbanization and slums are impacting women worldwide.
We hope that this evidence brief will shine a light on this pressing need and invite you to contact us with any questions or ideas you may have on this topic.