PROMOTING WOMEN’S LAND RIGHTS THROUGH COMMITMENT BASED INITIATIVE
Women’s Rights Movement has been a long existing reality. While focussing on the various issues governing the empowerment process of women, it has been observed that women’s empowerment is as much an economic issue, as it is about a social issue. And it wouldn’t be unfair to even state that perhaps the social discrimination faced by women stems from economic discrimination. It is all about bread. It is the mislead belief that men are the bread-earners that gives them the power to over-power women – socially, economically, politically.
International Land Coalition is an amalgamation of organisations, led by International Land Coalition itself, from across the world, which have been involved in active land rights movement. Since 2003, ILC has grown to a coalition of 207 organisations representing 64 countries, working together to promote secure and equitable access to land for rural people, mainly through capacity building, knowledge sharing and advocacy. http://www.landcoalition.org/
ILC and it’s member organisations keenly focus on Women’s Land Rights, thereby addressing the root cause of discrimination. It recognises that power and control over land gives the control over food and money – thus giving a social recognition and strength of decision-making to women. Also by focusing on the issue of women’s land rights – both from the grass root level as well as from the policy making level. ILC focuses on the issue holistically.
Hence Women’s Land Rights has been a cross cutting issue in the different activities undertaken by the members of ILC, especially, as part of the National Engagement Strategies (NES) processes in different countries.
If we focus on the activities of ILC-Asia, we would find that:
– For NES India, activities involving women pastoralists are highlighted; housewives and teenager women are being trained to adopt kitchen gardens to operationalize land productivity starting at a small scale. Notably, kitchen gardens are now done with the help and support of the men family members in most communities.
-NES Bangladesh, apart from CEDAW shadow reporting, has been training women in land management and media engagement on land issues.
-NES Nepal members have been very successful in facilitating the granting of joint land ownerships reflected in their land titles to target rural communities.
-Indonesia and the Philippines NES has been involved in GLTN tool pilot testing and in pursuing its adaptation on a larger scale through localization of the processes.
-NES Cambodia has noteworthy efforts on ensuring practices adhering to CEDAW through local trainings and information dissemination seminars.
From the experience of all these progress in Asia in terms of women’s land rights, there had arisen a need to complement the activities of each in order make the impact bigger and significant at a regional scale. It was realized that the existence of these national programs could be utilized and maximized starting with constant and effective knowledge management mechanisms which include learning exchanges, among others.
During the ILC Global Land Forum in May 2015 at Dakar, Senegal, equal land rights for women have been set as one of the ten commitments the ILC and its members adhere to as a contribution to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Thus Equal Land Rights of Women is getting a special thrust through the ILC Commitment Based Initiative 4. Commitment Based Initiative -4 exclusively focuses on the issues of Women’s Land Rights. This, according to ILC would focus on understanding, researching, documenting and developing activities directly related to Women’s Land Rights – as an important global, regional, and national issue. Moreover, this being a cross-country initiative, it is a huge scope for knowledge exchange with regard to women’s land rights. Another advantage is that, there would be an identification of core issues that are related to women’s land rights and affect the region as a whole.
In addition to the already existing efforts, the advantages of this intervention are:
1) Bringing in a global thrust to the perspective thus strongly identifying the land and gender equation as a primary thrust point for the days to come.
2) Tabling a set of comprehensive issues that affect women’s land rights and land management as a whole – thus helping in developing common tools.
3) Providing a thrust forward to the actions being undertaken at each country-level.
4) Understanding the common causes and issues that affect women as land owners or land users.
5) Having a scope of developing model situations from each country and incorporating within individual country perspective.
6) Providing an exclusive platform for regional and global sharing through –
* exclusive portal focussing on women’s land rights
* global Women’s Working Group for addressing the issue of land and women.
She Land is a Common Portal – an e-platform focusing exclusively on Women’s Land Rights, Management and Practices. The uniqueness of ‘She Land’ is that it is a knowledge sharing platform that focuses on Women’s Rights from the perspective of her rights over her land, her property, her money!
The platform aims to:
1) Document good practices and lessons from all over the world on the issue of Women’s Land Rights.
2) Share new ideas on sensitization and awareness building.
3) Put forward information on policy changes with regard to Women’s Land Rights.
4) Document different tools to ensure a fair gender practice related to land issues.
5) Give regular happenings on gender and land issues – happening globally.
6) Share news items, articles, blogs on the issue.
7) Record different stories of achievements, including struggles of women land activists, grass-root experiences.
8) Share information on agricultural and pastoral practices which are women-friendly.
The e-platform would not only help in inter learning process among the members but also help in the advocacy process, in knowledge sharing and building a thrust globally – on claiming Women’s Land Rights NOW!!!
This landmark initiative has been initiated by the Asian Region of ILC under the Commitment Based Initiative on Women’s Land Rights. Beginning with Asian region, the portal would gradually incorporate news, views and sharing from all across the world – even beyond the members of ILC.