Only three per cent of the land in the world is owned by women, UN-HABITAT’s Deputy Executive Director, Inga Bjork-Klevby said.
Speaking during an event titled, Not about us without us: Grassroots participation in land organized by the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and the Huairou Commission on the sidelines of the UN-HABITAT 23rd Governing Council, Mrs. Bjork-Klevby said more needed to be done to ensure women were principal actors in developing land policy, rather than being mere beneficiaries.
Delegates from Brazil, India, and Tanzania presented their work on women´s empowerment and presented examples of how land tenure for women household was on the increase.
“The work of the Global Land Tool Network and the Huairou Commission is changing the reality of many families,” said Mrs. Bjork-Klevby. “To have true empowerment, women need equal access to land and property.”
The Network’s strategy for working with grassroots organizations involves ensuring large scale participation in community-led initiatives. The long term aim is to get women’s organizations to engage in land administration and land management.
EspaÇo Feminista, a Brazilian non- governmental organization, shared its experience in struggling to ensure gender equity in land tenure in Recife, Brazil. The NGO aims to deliver equitable land titles to 9,000 families that live in the Santo Amaro slum in the center of Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco.
“One of the positive outcomes in this process has been the integration between the three levels of government, the community and the civil society. Progress is slow but it is better this way in order to achieve a common goal,” said Otavio Calumby, representative of the government of the state of Pernambuco.
In India, similar work is being done in more than 150 human settlements in 58 cities. It all started in 1994 when Slum Dwellers International mapped the first slums in Mumbai and Delhi. “Things have changed a lot since. Now we have new technologies to make our field team work easier,” said Sheela Patel, director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centers, (SPARC) a member of Slum Dwellers International.
In 2011, the government of India will present the Rajiv Awas Yojana, or slum upgrading policy, with a goal of ending slums in the country. “Providing land tenure for all is difficult but not impossible. I believe that mapping and informing the government is important to make work easier for all,” said Ms Keya Kunte, SPARC’s architect.