Global Resources

Women's Right to Land: Voices from Grassroots Movement and Working Women's Alliance from Gujarat

Author: M. Velayudhan
Publisher: BRIDGE
Publication Date: Mar 2008
Studies have shown that a key factor associated with rural poverty is access to land. Yet in many parts of India there remains a huge gender gap in land ownership and control - with significant implications for women's economic and social status. This document traces the journey of the Working Group on Women and Land Ownership (WGWLO), a network of 23 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based in Gujarat, India, which came together in 2003 to bring visibility to the issue of women and agricultural land ownership, and to carry out advocacy initiatives to change aspects in laws and policies of the Government of Gujarat which inhibit women from owning land in their name. This document describes the process which led to WGWLO's emergence and details the strategies they used, including organising workshops at the grassroots level to raise awareness of the issues, conducting research, reaching out to the media, carrying out capacity building and advocacy at the national level - for example advocating for incentives to be incorporated into government schemes so that men are motivated to transfer land in the name of women from their household - and trying to integrate the issue of women's land ownership within ongoing NGO programmes.