An Excellent M3A6 Course Assignment Post
It seems that the issues around women and land rights are essentially similar
throughout the developing world.
In Africa Renewal vol 22 (April 2008) page 10 the problems are described
well. In Africa women produce 70% of the food and yet rights to land are
largely held by men. If a woman is widowed she is likely to be deprived of
her rights to the matrimonial land and therefore the means to support herself
and her family. The land may be sold by her in-laws without reference to
her. She may enter the sex trade, with all its attendant risks, as just
about the only way to make enough money to survive.
Land rights are often a confusing mix of national law seeking to extend
access to land, the colonial legacy of private land rights and traditional
tribal/ clan customs administered by traditional courts mostly dominated by
men. Rural women involved in these courts may be illiterate and ignorant of
what rights they do have.
In the Wikipedia entry under Land Law Tim Hanstad is quoted in “Secure
Land Rights, Rural Development Institute 2010” as listing the benefits of
granting women adequate land rights:
Women are less likely to contract AIDS as they don’t have to resort to
They are less likely to be subjected to domestic violence
Their children will be better nourished and likely to get a better education
They may have better access to microcredit
In a USAID briefing paper entitled Land Tenure, Property Rights and Gender
by Renee Giovarelli and Beatrice Wamalwa Jan 2011 examples are quoted from
Asia and Central America as well as from Africa. They contend that” women
farmers hold the key to sharply reducing world hunger.”
How can Land Value Capture help redress the gross inequities that are
1 A precondition of LVC is a comprehensive system of land registration, so
that everyone knows who owns what, and this is essential to secure land
rights of any description. Also it is essential for raising public revenue
which is the main raison d’etre of LVC.
2 The owner/ user of a plot of land would, under LVC, have security of tenure
providing she can afford to pay the land tax. This should not be difficult
as the plots in question, both rural and urban, are likely to have a low
rental value and therefore little tax to pay.
3 LVC will put an end to speculation in land and prevent land being treated
as a marketable commodity. Thereby making it much more affordable and so
accessible by those who need it and can use it. This would be beneficial in
both rich and poor countries, but proportionally more so in the latter.
4 Under a system of LVC workers would enjoy the full fruits of their labour
as income tax would not be levied and prosperity would be diffused throughout
society. People would have no disincentive to improve their dwellings. No
other system, and many have been tried, holds out such promise to end once
and for all the abject poverty that afflicts so many and which so shames our
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