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Reconsidering approaches to women’s land rights in sub-Saharan Africa

Discussions around gender equality in land governance in sub-Saharan Africa often highlight the fact that only a small percentage of women own land, and many projects addressing land and gender in the region focus on women’s ability to acquire land. But this framing does not fully convey the breadth of challenges women face in relation to land stewardship, such as involvement in decision making. Based on learning from an event that brought together 28 NGO practitioners and academics from East and West Africa, this briefing suggests that any attempt to tackle gender inequalities in land governance must also take into account local contexts and gender dynamics. Projects must start at a household level, put aside easy assumptions about customary practice, and — perhaps most crucially — ensure that women’s voices are solicited and heard.

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