Mending the Gap Between Law and Practice, Organizational Approaches for Women's Property Rights

Published: September 2009

This document presents information of how women in many countries are far less likely than men to own property and assets - key tools to gaining economic security and earning higher incomes. Though laws to protect women's property rights exist in most countries, gender and cultural constraints can prevent women from owning or inheriting property. In this series, ICRW suggests practical steps to promote, protect and fulfill women's property rights.

Key Findings

  • Strengthen network models to increase effectiveness. Given the multiple factors that need to be addressed to promote women's property and inheritance rights, organizations need to coordinate services and efforts to enable women to realize their rights. However, networks face great challenges in generating resources given the dominance of the sectoral funding among donors.
  • Facilitate cross-country learning to share experiences, strategies and innovative approaches. Successful efforts promoting South-to-South learning, such as the Grassroots Academy of the Huiarou Commission demonstrate the effectiveness of peer exchanges.
  • Invest in program documentation and monitoring and evaluation. The program scan found that few organizations are able to rigorously establish the impact of their work and thus identify "what works."
  • Improve understanding of global processes. More research is needed to establish the impacts of macro issues such as trade policies, globalization, increasing privatization of land, and agrarian reforms on households and women's property rights. These global processes can, in fact, undermine communitylevel efforts to promote women's property rights. Currently, there is little dialogue between organizations engaged in research and advocacy on these global issues and those involved in promoting women's property rights.

Populations Women

Publishers International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

Geographic Focus Africa (Sub-Saharan), Asia