Julia, Habitat homeowner from Kenya

USAID’s Fact Sheet on Land tenure and Women's Empowerment

As Habitat for Humanity recognized in its campaign, access to land lies at the heart of eradicating poverty.  It is the basic foundation for decent housing that in turn gives families stability and opens new possibilities.

But for many rural people who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, land also represents the most critical economic resource.  Despite having an important role in the food production, women are systematically denied ownership and control over the land, thus limiting their economic possibilities.

According to on land tenure and women's empowerment, women comprise just below 50 percent of agricultural labor in sub-Saharan Africa, but own only 15 percent of the agricultural land. The figures are similar in the Middle East and North Africa, with women making up around 40 percent of agricultural labor while representing only 5 percent share of the land owners. 

When the efforts of formalizing women's land rights are successful, there are great improvements in the lives of women themselves, as well as their communities. Security of women's land rights is directly linked to a positive change in women’s empowerment, food security and family nutrition, livelihoods, economic growth, and broader rural and urban development. More statistics and evidence are presented on USAID’s land tenure site .