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Accessing Justice: Models, Strategies and Best Practices on Women's Empowerment

Full citation: IDLO, "Accessing Justice: Models, Strategies and Best Practices on Women's Empowerment," IDLO REPORT (2013). - This paper highlights some of the challenges and solutions for women’s access to justice in diverse legal systems. It shows that women face structural and cultural barriers to accessing justice – insufficient knowledge of rights and remedies, illiteracy or poor literacy, and lack of resources or time to participate in justice processes. This is all the more so as women usually have intensive family responsibilities. Even where women can access the formal justice sector, the outcomes of the process often fall far short of those envisaged by international standards, particularly with regard to property rights, inheritance, divorce and child custody, and spousal abuse. Focusing on legal empowerment as a way to improve both access to justice and the quality of justice women receive, the study presents strategies and best practices in both formal and informal justice systems. Legal empowerment approaches share one core concept: using the law to enable disadvantaged groups to access justice and realize basic rights. They include legal education; legal aid services; support for non-discriminatory dispute resolution fora to complement or supplement informal systems; training of paralegals; and rights awareness. In considering whether such approaches can improve the quality of justice women receive, Accessing Justice brings together a number of IDLO-sponsored case studies in Afghanistan, India, Namibia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Morocco, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. These highlight a variety of lessons for development practitioners, both in terms of engagement with the informal legal sector and, more generally, for the use of legal empowerment and top-down / bottom-up strategies. In an appropriate context, carefully designed legal empowerment strategies may constitute a valuable contribution to improving women’s access to justice.
[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, India
Creator:
IDLO
Year:
2013

Property Rights and the Gender Distribution of Wealth in Ecuador, Ghana and India

Full citation: Deere, C. D., Oduro, A., Swaminathan, H. and Doss, C., "Property Rights and the Gender Distribution of Wealth in Ecuador, Ghana and India," 13 GENDER ASSET GAP PROJECT WORKING PAPER (August 2012). - This paper finds that basic property rights are insufficient, for much depends upon the legal and cultural regimes related to marriage and inheritance. Drawing upon household asset surveys which collected individual level ownership data in Ecuador, Ghana and the state of Karnataka in India, it estimates married women’s share of couple wealth and relate it to whether major household assets are owned individually or jointly during the marriage as well as to different inheritance regimes and practices. In Ecuador, married women own 44 percent, in Ghana, 19 percent, and in Karnataka, nine percent of couple wealth. Ecuador is characterized by the partial community property regime in marriage while inheritance laws provide for all children, irrespective of sex, to be treated equally, rules that are largely followed in practice. In contrast, Ghana and India are characterized by the separation of property regime which does not recognize wives’ contribution to the formation of marital property, and by inheritance practices that are strongly male biased. Reforming marital and inheritance regimes must remain a top priority in many regions of the world if gender economic equality is to be attained. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Ecuador, Ghana, India
Creator:
Deere, C. D., Oduro, A., Swaminathan, H. and Doss, C.
Year:
2012

Women's Inheritance Rights and Intergenerational Transmission of Resources in India

Full citation: Deininger, K., Goyal, A. and Nagarajan, H., "Women's Inheritance Rights and Intergenerational Transmission of Resources in India," 46 THE JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOUCES 2 (2013). - Using inheritance patterns over three generations of individuals, this study assesses the impact of changes in the Hindu Succession Act, which grant daughters equal coparcenary birth rights in joint family property, that were denied to daughters in the past. The study shows that the amendment significantly increased daughters’ likelihood to inherit land, but that even after the amendment, substantial bias persists. There were no detectable changes before the legal amendment, with a sharp increase in land bequests to daughters occurring only after HSAA became effective. The effect persists over time, showing a modest but significant upward trend, in line with a gradual pattern of dissemination and learning. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
India
Creator:
Deininger, K., Goyal, A. and Nagarajan, H.
Year:
2013

Hindu Women's Property Rights in India: A Critical Appraisal

Full citation: Patel, R. (2006). “Hindu Women's Property Rights in India: A Critical Appraisal.” Third World Quarterly, 27(7), 1255–1268. - This paper looks at changes in Hindu women’s position regarding property rights, and argues that rights conferred through law must be analyzed in light of their contexts (cultural, historical, etc.) to determine their practical legitimacy. It addresses the need to critically define the bases and contours of 'rights' as created by law. Taking the example of changes in Hindu women’s position in relation to property through the rights generated by statutory and constitutional provisions, the article critically evaluates the potential for such a 'rights regime' to enable Hindu women's greater access to property. It argues that the idea underlying a particular claim, its legitimacy and therefore effectiveness within a legal framework must be critically evaluated. The legitimacy of claims presumptively conferred within a legal framework must be interrogated in the light of legal, historical, political and cultural contexts. Such a contextual and critical analysis is crucial for effective protection of rights claims through law. To the extent that legal regimes reflect and substantiate wider social relations, their potential for bringing about substantive change in the lives of women can only be realized through ongoing critical analyses of gender, law and society.
[Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
India
Creator:
Patel, R.
Year:
2006

Innovations in land rights recognition, administration, and governance

Full citation: Deininger, K., Augustinus, C., Enemark, S., and Munro-Faure, P. (Eds.) (2010). “Innovations in land rights recognition, administration, and governance.” World Bank Publications. - This paper brings together a variety of studies on land rights. Chapter 4 in particular focuses on efforts to improve tenure security. One study in India examines whether changes in inheritance legislation impact the socioeconomic status of females, and found that when daughters were granted coparcenary birthrights in joint family property denied to daughters in the past, the amendment significantly increased the probability of females inheriting land. However, even after the passage of the amendment, significant bias against females persists. Another study in Ethiopia assesses the effects on the allocative efficiency of the land rental market of the low-cost approach to land registration and certification of restricted property rights that were implemented in Ethiopia from the late 1990s. Four rounds of balanced household panel data collected from 16 villages in northern Ethiopia are used. After controlling for endogeneity of land certification and unobserved household heterogeneity affecting land market participation, it was found that land certification enhanced land rental market participation of female landlord households. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Ethiopia, India
Creator:
Deininger, K., Augustinus, C., Enemark, S., and Munro-Faure, P.
Year:
2010

Gender and Green Governance

Full citation: Agarwal, B. (2010). Gender and Green Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press). - This book is based on a primary survey of community forestry institutions (CFIs) in the early 2000s, and on fieldwork in Nepal and India. It examines the impact the gender composition of a group has on women’s effective participation, rule-making, rule violations, forest conservation, and firewood and fodder shortages.

It finds that women’s greater presence in CFIs has many statistically demonstrable benefits. It enhances women’s effective voice in decision-making; influences the nature of decisions made, especially the rules of forest use and their implementation; and improves forest condition. Measures that help increase women’s presence in governance institutions (and especially poor women’s presence) would thus be beneficial both because their participation is intrinsically important for inclusive governance and successful institutional functioning, and to better fulfill the conservation and subsistence objectives of such institutions. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Nepal, India
Creator:
Agarwal, B.
Year:
2010

Joint-titling—A Win-Win Policy? Gender and Property Rights in Urban Informal Settlements in Chandigarh, India

Full citation: Datta, N. (2006). “Joint-titling—A Win-Win Policy? Gender and Property Rights in Urban Informal Settlements in Chandigarh, India.” - This article explores the impact of joint titling of houses on women’s empowerment in urban informal settlements in Chandigarh, India. It finds that property rights increase women’s participation in decision making, access to knowledge and information about public matters, sense of security, self-esteem, and the respect that they receive from their spouses. Women display a higher attachment to their houses than men, especially after getting joint titles, because houses play a valuable role in fulfilling women’s practical and strategic gender needs. This increased attachment to the house helps reduce property turnover in regularized settlements, hence assisting the government in attainingits goals and making joint titling a win-win policy. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
India
Creator:
Datta, N.
Year:
2006

Institutional Innovations Towards Gender Equity in Agrobiodiversity Management: Collective Action in Kerala, South India

Full citation: Padmanabhan, M.A. (2005). “Institutional Innovations Towards Gender Equity in Agrobiodiversity Management: Collective Action in Kerala, South India.” - This study compares two institutions of collective biodiversity management in Kerala, India. The traditional mechanisms of a scheduled tribe, the Kurichyas, are contrasted with the new institution of the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) under the local form of governance, the panchayat. Collective action is analysed for the core variables of reputation, trust and reciprocity. In the tribal institutions, traditional seed exchange rests on reputation and gender complementarities, which are eroded by a diminishing degree of trust and dissolving property rights for women and weakened by failing norms of reciprocity. The new institution of PBR threatens tribal women’s reputations and their knowledge by reducing it to a bureaucratic register, the disembodiment of knowledge into information reduces trust and unpredictable returns diminish reciprocity. A massive public investment in strengthening women’s capabilities for a transformation from conservers and users to advocates, managers and decision-makers regarding biodiversity might halt the loss. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
India
Creator:
Padmanabhan, M.A.
Year:
2005

Empowering Widows: An Overview of policies and programmes in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka

Full citation: UN Women. (2014). “Empowering Widows: An Overview of policies and programmes in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.”
- This paper finds that strengthening engagement with civil society in the implementation of government programs results in a more enabling environment for widows to claim services, including land rights. Focus group discussions in India and Nepal showed that widows who were a part of this collaborative effort were more articulate, confident and aware of their rights. This played an important role in helping them claim their entitlements, including land rights. In Sri Lanka, widows have been able to take advantage of government programs for capacity building and skills training due to the partnership between the government and the groups working with widows. In the process, many widows have become agents of change in their community. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India
Creator:
UN Women
Year:
2014