The Huairou Commission network members have generated key recommendations for gender-responsive and participatory approaches to achieving women’s security of tenure.
Recognizing women as agents of change, rather than victims, has allowed women to become visible generators of knowledge and owners of expertise that should be central to public service and public space design. Building grassroots women’s capacity in security of tenure addresses both the practical and strategic needs of women. Practically, grassroots women’s efforts address the material conditions of women, their families and communities by improving living conditions and opportunities for income generation. Strategically, they ensure that women are seen as leaders by their communities and local governments, raising their political and social status, and impacting their ability to influence decision-making processes.
Our recommendations focus on consolidating and scaling up mapping and analytical tools, allowing women across diverse social and political contexts to quantify access, land ownership and power dynamics in their communities. Community-driven data collection must be recognized as key evidence of tenure to form the basis of planning and property reform, and the collection and dissemination of data should be prioritized. Additionally, we recommend promoting the connection between women’s security of tenure and their economic and political empowerment, which is central to alleviating poverty, enhancing productive capacity and reducing income inequalities. For instance, by mitigating the risks of land grabbing and displacement, women can continue agricultural production and sustain their livelihoods.
Grassroots women are already organizing to respond to challenges created by the lack of security of tenure. They have developed strategies to hold local authorities accountable by monitoring infrastructure budgets, and have developed several innovations, including upgraded infrastructure, such as water supply, sanitation delivery and waste management, options for safe and clean energy alternatives, strategies to confront drought, flooding and erosion, and reforestation.
In order to validate and support grassroots women’s efforts, our recommendations include establishing a range of win-win partnerships with stakeholders through empowering women to map their realities, negotiate with authorities and develop technical expertise to work directly with policy-makers on interventions at all levels. Women’s meaningful participation must be guaranteed, from data collection to fostering an understanding of land administration, management and governance. We ensure that women are active in the negotiations of land allocation, and have access resources for making their land productive for economic income and food security.