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Women’s Land Rights Bring Wide Benefits

Women’s Land Rights Bring Wide Benefits

Despite progress on many fronts, India still struggles with malnutrition rates that rival sub-Sarahan Africa, even as its economy continues to expand and income levels continue to push upwards.

But there’s a growing body of evidence that shows, not surprisingly, that these stubbornly intractable malnutrition rates have a common link: women’s ability to access and control resources.

Now, thanks to the efforts of organizations like Landesa, all across India national and state governments are developing programs designed to help women in their country have secure rights to land. This could mean owning land jointly with their husbands or on their own. But the benefits of women owning property are unmistakeable.

A study in Nepal found that children are less likely to be underweight if their mothers own land. Another study in Ghana found that when a woman owns a larger share of the household’s farmland families allocate more of their household budget to food.

Those benefits have tangible results as well. In economic terms, treating health deficiencies and reduced mental capacity related to malnourishment costs the country an estimated $28bn per year. And that is just one country.

What better way could there be to honor the mothers of the world than by helping make sure all women have access to the resources they need to take care of their children? Legal rights to own and control property are of paramount need and can bring the most lasting change, not only in the the lives of each woman, but of all of us.

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Photo from mckaysavage via flickr.

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10 comments

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5:06PM PDT on May 16, 2012

that's great..for a country that is getting richer, and spend lots on miltary, India needs to look at where it's priories are.

2:10PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Wonderful project.

10:24AM PDT on May 13, 2012

It is true that if women had secure rights to land, they and their children would be healthier and happier. It is also true that rights to land by an exponentially increasing population decrease essential forests and wildlife habitat as well as absolutely essential water resources. More and more land is being put under cultivation in wildlife areas and the farmers kill as pests animals such as lions and cheetahs as threats to their livestock .A tribal group in Kenya has a secure deed to land at the origin of the Mara river. If they use enough water for their agriculture to significantly decrease the river flow, the migrating herds of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras will die of thirst in the hundreds of thousands. If that means nothing to you, consider that people that won’t recognize that water is limited and population must be limited too, also die of thirst.

6:06PM PDT on May 12, 2012

2 thumbs up

1:11PM PDT on May 12, 2012

A perfect example of the power of women in society. The feminine gender archetype is connected with food, nurturing and community. The masculine archetype is individual, concerned more with accomplishment, dominance, his ego and self. The Neolithic Revolution and the invention of agriculture between 9000 and 6000 BCE. was driven by women in a matriarchal social environment. That same feminine vision created our first cities and civilization after 4000 BCE. The rise of patriarchy after 2200 BCE changed that historical thrust into militaristic empire building.

Giving land back to women will infuse the feminine archetype into our lives in ways that promise to reinvigorate society and civilization with all sorts of very positive feminine qualities. And these very nurturing feminine energies will transfer to men as well potentially healing many of the ills that we have in front of us today.

8:17AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Thanks, Jessica, for writing this article. I agree with your comments: David N., Luvenia V., and Veronica R.

11:21AM PDT on May 11, 2012

Too many governments are hostile to some of their own populations, and refuse them any means of land ownership as a way of eliminating these populations by slow starvation. As an example, the communist governments of Vietnam & Laos are preventing land ownership by the Montagnards, Hmong, Tai Dam and other tribal minorities they wish to eliminate. At the same time they deprive these populations of education and employment opportunities to make it difficult to earn income to buy the foods they are given no opportunity to grow. In brief, this is a "slow motion" form of genocide.

10:59AM PDT on May 11, 2012

I can compress this article to a very few words. If women have more control they will do what is right for their family. If women have more rights the family will eat better and be healthier.

Another reason so many men are fighting the rights of women, WEAK men hate STRONG women. STRONG men see women as their Partners and their friend. They know that working together brings about only GOOD things. I love STRONG men!!!

10:56AM PDT on May 11, 2012

So, what studies found is that when men own the land they sell all the crop and devote less resources to caring for/feeding their own children. Nice.
Wonder how they celebrate Father's Day in those countries.

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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