30 January 2013

Nigeria: 'Inequal Land Rights Aggravates Women's Status'

The impact of the inequality in lands rights has aggravated women's socio-economic status, allowed for sexual harassment and violence against women and contributed towards marital instability, separation and divorce.

his assertion was made by the Executive Director, Women Environmental Programme (WEP), Ms. Priscilla M. Achakpa in her address entitled "Gender land evaluation using gender evaluation criteria" presented at a training workshop on gender and land evaluation held in Abuja yesterday.

She said that gender is central to understanding organization and transformation of landholding in Nigeria, shaping women's differential experience of tenure insecurity not as wives, but also as sisters and daughters and as divorced or widowed head of households.

Achakpa said, "In spite of the Nigerian Land Use Act (LUA) of 1978, which restructured the property rights system in the country from mixed private property rights system in a collectivist framework, concerns about women's land rights persist."

"In order to increase women's ability to negotiate access to land, there is the need to ensure that gender is mainstream into land tools hence, WEP resolve to capacity building with the support of her partners the European Union through International Land Evaluation utilizing a set of Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC) for assessing large-scale land tools developed by the Global Land Tool Network(GLT), with its secretariat at the GLTN and Land Unit, Urban Land Legislation and Governance Branch of UN-HABITAT, is an international network which aims to establish a continuum of land rights and develop pro-poor land management and land tenure tools."

She explained that the goals, values and priorities of the GLTN reflect the idea that land tools must address gender equality, adding that the Gender Evaluation Criteria is a tool produced by the GLTN as a practical way to assess whether large-scale land tools are sufficiently gender responsive and to identify where there may be bottlenecks and opportunities for change.

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