Women have a right to be free from discrimination with respect to ownership of land and property. However, women’s ability to access, use and control land, property and other resources is often not equal to that of men, particularly in certain cultural, religious or social environments. Access to and use of land and property are crucial to a life with dignity, an adequate standard of living and economic independence. Women’s rights to access, use and control land, property and other related resources have major implications for their enjoyment of other human rights such as rights to equality, food, health, housing, water, work and education. This is true of women in both rural and urban areas.
Women may suffer from discrimination regarding their legal rights to land and property due to cultural, religious or social assumptions and through the status of women in marriage, divorce, or as victims of domestic violence.
Without taking proactive preventative measures, businesses risk violating women’s rights to land, property and related resources and other human rights. To prevent this risk, businesses should ensure that women’s rights, needs and perspectives are considered in areas that might adversely affect their land and property rights, such as forced eviction. Businesses should promote training and education around women’s land and property rights, especially at the decision-making level, to ensure that business operations acknowledge and respect them as equal to men.
Businesses should ensure they provide women with a grievance mechanism to make complaints regarding the Business’s impact on women’s land or property rights, which should be clear, transparent and accessible, and appropriately address cultural or religious sensitivities.