Women Land Rights

Stronger women’s rights to land and productive assets are linked to a wide range of benefits such as improved living conditions, better nutrition and food sovereignty, better health, higher earnings and individual savings, and more. Yet women have been at the center of human rights violations worldwide regarding their rights and access to land. Discriminatory laws and social norms undercut women’s access to land. Women are more harshly affected by land tenure insecurity.

Rights to land through marriage and inheritance are governed by one of two customary systems in Malawi. Under the matrilineal system prevalent in the central and southern regions of the country, land is handed down through the female line, while under the patrilineal system in the northern region, land is transferred from fathers to sons.

Though the recent customary law spells out provisions for non discrimination against anyone on the basis of their gender, there is still a long way to transform minds and both formal and informal systems that cater to securing customary land interests to become more responsive to women's needs in regards to tenure.

The coalition is working to ensure that communities and other stakeholders are adequately sensitized and capacitated to achieve the shift in mindset and behavior required translate policy aspirations into gender just societies in accessing land.