Let justice be done: Respect for women’s land rights in the Middle East and North Africa

Source: Middle East Institute

Author(s): Amal Kandeel

Original Link: https://www.mei.edu/publications/let-justice-be-done-respect-womens-land-rights-middle-east-and-north-africa

Ownership of economic resources is integral to exercising agency and to assuring the human security needed to live free from fear, want, and indignity. In agrarian societies, land and its natural resources are instrumental to financial, physical, and psychological wellbeing. Yet in half the world, secure land ownership is out of reach for most women. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), there is a huge gender-based gap in holding agricultural land, including where agriculture is a vital source of livelihood. In Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Jordan, most women, regardless of their education or socio-economic status are landless. Gender-based inequalities are often rooted in cultural norms that permit and exacerbate patterns of discrimination against women within the family and in economic transactions. These discriminatory attitudes trump humanistic and moral considerations, creating and reinforcing inequality. Discrimination against women in resource ownership has far-reaching implications for their lives, their families, and society. It is imperative to combat this regressive practice to ensure a dignified life for all. 

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