The current inequities in land access also raise a human rights issue. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to property for all. This includes the right to land, which is the most important physical asset in poor agrarian economies. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) calls for equal rights of both spouses in terms of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment, and disposition of household property (Article 16).
A number of promising innovations for
improving women’s access to land are being tested. For example,
Ethiopia, Rwanda, Colombia, Peru, and Nicaragua have introduced joint
land titling for spouses. In Nepal, a tax exemption (of 10 per cent in
2008, subsequently increased to 25–40 per cent) helped raise the number
of households reporting women’s access to land ownership from 11 per
cent in 2001 to 35 per cent in 2009.