Gender in Agriculture Partnership

Transforming agriculture to empower women and deliver food, nutrition and income security

Governing Land for Women and Men

This technical guide on Governing land for women and men aims to assist implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security  (FAO, 2012b) by providing guidance that supports the Guidelines’ principle of gender equality in tenure governance. At the beginning of each  module, reference is made to the relevant provisions in the Guidelines.

The guide focuses on equity and on how land tenure can be governed in ways that address the different needs and priorities of women and men. It moves away from long-standing debates about gender equality in access to land, towards the mainstreaming of gender issues to achieve more gender-equitable participation in the processes and institutions that underlie all decision-making about land.

Gender equality is one of the ten core principles for implementation of the Guidelines and is closely tied to three others – human dignity, nondiscrimination, and equity and justice (Box 1). Gender relations determine differences in the relative status and power of women and men. Gender and gender roles shape the opportunities and constraints that women and men face in securing their livelihoods, including their access to land, decision-making about land, and  the institutions that administer land and other productive resources (FAO, 2003a).

Gender-equitable governance of land tenure ensures that women and men can participate equally in their relationships to land, through both formal institutions and informal arrangements for land administration and management (Table 1).

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FAO 2013