Learn from the voices of three young women the challenges they face with regard to land rights and the strategies they adopt to address them.
This is the first of four Labs of the “Women for Women 2022 Learning Labs series”. Topics are selected by women taking part in the ILC mentoring and solidarity network “Women for Women”.
This Lab focused on the experiences of ILC members working with communities, and ILC members who are Community Based Organisations, to increase young women’s participation in communities’ activitities. Participants heard success stories and good practices that put young women at the center and make their voices heard.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
- What are the specific challenges of young women with regard to land rights?
- What are young women’s strategies to respond to those challenges?
- How to increase young women’s participation in the struggles for land rights?
- What does ILC Fellowship Programme mean for young women land rights activists?
MEET THE EXPERTS
Elisabetta Cangelosi, ILC Gender Justice Advisor, will moderate a conversation with:
- Leticia Ruiz ILC Fellow - CCDA, Guatemala
- Samke Mkhize ILC Fellow - AFRA, South Africa
- Melissa Alamo ILC Fellow - Pakisama, Philippines
These young women are all ILC Fellows from the Future Leaders Fellowship Programme.
“Young women fight for life, as they fight for their land!” Leticia Ruiz, CCDA Guatemala
VOICES FROM THE PHILIPPINES, GUATEMALA AND SOUTH AFRICA
Melissa made a presentation on the work of Pakisama to promote young women’s land rights. She identified the following most significant challenges :
- Gender bias. The Philippines is a patriarchal society, and although there are several progressive women’s movements, women still face a lot of biases when it comes to land access. These gender biases are most predominant in rural areas and at multiple levels: community, household and policies implementation.
- Inequality in land ownership and limited access to capacity development activities in areas such as knowledge on land rights and gender justice.
- Lack of value tributed to women’s work in the household and agricultural activities, and rather recurring violence against them.
Pakisama acts through a variety of interventions to address these challenges, such as: women inclusion in governance and political spaces; strengthening women leadership and agricultural cooperatives; advocacy to protect indigenous women’s land rights; and networking.
Also in Guatemala, as Leticia reports, women role in agriculture is made invisible and 70% of rural women are not taken into account in statistics related to economically active population. Furthermore, there arespecific barriers that contribute to insecure land rights for women and girls, in particular linked to the presence of big companies and corporations, that have caused displacement for rural smallholders. The situation is further aggravated by a movement from agriculture to tourism and very limited Government support in rural areas.
CCDA is currently providing financial and economic empowerment to women so that they can take care of their families. They are also working with the Government to create laws that are more favourable for women.
Additionally, from CCDA’s perspective, there is a need for national data and statistics to recognise women’s contribution and role. For example, from CCDA’s work in rural communities, women significant productive work in the home and agriculture, is not recognised in national statistics and census reports. Recognising the contribution of women in the data would provide evidence to the fact that women land rights matter.
Samke shared her experiences working with landless women working on farms. AFRA is engaged to support rural women farmers, who live fragile lives characterised by unequal power relations andsocial exclusions that keep them in poverty. Women discrimination is caused by a combination of elements: patriarchal undercurrents, cultural beliefs; internalized discrimination; social norms; customary practices and economic marginalisation.
AFRA strategies include: documenting stories, building community-based institutions, creating and providing safe spaces for women to engage, and amplifying women’s voices.
CULTIVATING FUTURE LEADERS
Melissa, Leticia and Samke shared their feedback and feelings about their participation in ILC leadershipprogramme. The fellowship provided support in developing their leadership, facilitation and writing skills, it put them in connection with a broad network of young people actively fighting for land rights, through the creation of a safe space for young passionate leaders to engage and share knowledge.
THE EXPERIENCE OF THE AUDIENCE
The audience proactively reacted to the experiences shared: it emerged, for example, that patriarchal practices and mindsets are a common element of discrimination against women, including in accessing land. That speculation over land has an inequal and detrimental impact on women’s rights, and that migrationcaused by lack of employment , and its impact on women, are a common element worldwide. Also, legal frameworks do not focus enough on young women needs and experiences, and young women movements do not have enough visibility! There is also need for more gender sensitive approaches by state actors and officers. However, actions exist to respond to this critical situation: among others, one participant shared a capacity building project based in Ecuador.
With thanks to Prisca Adong and Solomon Hayes (ILC Gender Justice interns) for organising this Learning Lab and capturing its key messages.