Land, Women Empowerment and Socioeconomic Development in the Arab Region
In the Arab region, as in other parts of the world, there is a growing consensus that securing land tenure for women and men is an essential precondition to achieving socioeconomic and human development. However, the empirical evidence needed to understand the relationship between gender, land tenure, and inequalities is lacking.
The Arab Land Initiative, with the support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, contributed to address this gap. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) of Palestine in partnership with UN-Habitat and the Global Land Tool Network, conducted the study “Land, Women Empowerment and Socioeconomic Development in the Arab Region: Evidence-based perspectives”.
The study examines the factors affecting women’s land tenure security in the Arab region and their connection to women’s empowerment and the socioeconomic development. Drawing information from literature review, consultations and in-depth field assessments conducted in Palestine, Tunisia, Iraq and Kuwait, the research evidences the on-the-ground realities of gender- and land-related patterns.
The research highlights with field data that gender inequalities are not limited to land ownership and land acquisition. Gender disparity influences the use of and control over land and the opportunity to secure financial gains from its utilization. Securing women’s land tenure rights is therefore pivotal to change the economic structures that have historically prioritized men’s access to land as breadwinners and continue to enhance women’s dependency on male family members.
Noting a positive correlation between land tenure security and improved living conditions, the study confirms that, when women have secure housing, land and property rights, they are more empowered to take decisions about their lives and families, and their social status, as well as the overall protection against gender-based violence and other hazards improves.
The study provides actionable recommendations for decision-makers, stakeholders and activists on awareness and advocacy, research and data, gender-responsive reforms, women’s inheritance rights and participation.
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