Land rights to women: Despite Courts, The Plot Is Against Daughters

News: Recently, the Supreme court ruled that if a male Hindu dies without a will, his self-acquired property will pass by succession, and a daughter would be entitled to inherit such property even under Hindu law.

Why the land ownership is critical for women’s empowerment?

Various organizations like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, etc acknowledge women’s rights to land as fundamental to fulfilling basic rights. Such as livelihood, housing, and food, as well as rights to an adequate standard of living, self-determination, and cultural participation.

Greater equitable rights to land are also part of SDG goals. These goals are part of the United Nations and have been adopted by India as part of global development 2030. Goal five aims to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources.

Land ownership creates a sense of equality for women in society. It provides a basis for her family’s economic security and stability. It acts as the foundation of agricultural productivity and promotes a more inclusive and stable society.

Read more: What they own: NFHS on women property ownership isn’t conclusive
What does the data show about women’s position in holding land rights?

There is great inequity in the ownership of resources. According to the World Bank report, in 40% of economies, women face legal barriers to enjoying land and property rights.

Lack of data makes it difficult to get accurate figures. UN women estimated that less than 20% of the world’s landholders are women. Agriculture census data from India, which is conducted every five years, gives information on land ownership.
As per 2015–16 data, Only 13.96% of agricultural landowners are women. And they operate only 11.72% of agricultural lands.

What steps should the government adopt to close the gender gap in land ownership?

Government should invest in reliable data from where it can collect all the required information like how many and which women own land; which laws facilitate women’s ownership; how women use the land to their advantage and what barriers they face in using land and others. This precise data will help the government to close the gender gap in land ownership.

Also, the efforts of all stakeholders are required for implementing the law successfully.

Read here: India must push for women’s rights in land ownership

Source: This post is based on the article “Despite Courts, The Plot Is Against Daughters” published in the Times of India on 8th February 2022.

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