Involving men in women’s land rights

News Organization

India Development Review

Publication Date

28 June 2023

Publication Author

Halima Ansari

Land ownership can play a critical role in women’s empowerment. Although there is a dearth of gender disaggregated data on women’s landlessness in India, one would like to believe that the enactment of more progressive laws such as the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, has resulted in a rise in the joint ownership of land in the country. But legislation is only the first step in forwarding the cause of women’s land rights, as women in India continue to face substantial sociocultural challenges in obtaining and exercising their rights to land and property.

Ravi Verma from International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), a research organisation working on gender rights, explains that the patriarchy present at the heart of these systems is the reason behind the laws being ineffective. “Inheritance laws and initiatives have not been able to make a decisive dent in how patriarchy, supported by customary practices and inequitable gender norms, continues to maintain its widespread and often violent presence through control over a key empowering asset like land,” he adds.