RDI ( Rural Development Institute) / Landesa

Project Theme

Target Group


Project Period

01 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2015

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Women constitute 86% of the labour force in agriculture in India as against 62% men. Women work nearly 3400 Hrs as against 1212 Hrs by men and 1054 Hrs by animals in a one hectare farm in India. However, as per Indian Agricultural census, women own only about 9% of land in India, and in some states they own as low as 2-4%. Despite widespread recognition of feminisation of Indian agriculture in the academic and policy literature, women agricultural producers are not recognised as a farmer in Indian official policy, neither the society is ready to accept them as a farmer in their own right. One general observation about these land struggles is that, while getting land for the landless is a priority for the civil society organisations, the same level of priority does not exist when it comes to women’s land rights. Women have only received their legal entitlement to inherit agricultural land in 2005 when the Hindu Succession Act was amended last. However, this amendment is still largely unknown the most civil society actors, and almost completely unknown to the women and men for whom it matters. To make the matter worse, the state governments in most states such as have not issued any circulars informing their staff about this amendment resulting in large information deficit even among the state machinery. Further, there are serious formal and informal barriers that exist against women claiming their rightful inheritance. All these call for a carefully crafted strategy to elevate the issues of landless people and women farmers at all levels, local and national. Oxfam India has taken this as one of their country engagement strategy in India, and is already working with its partners on this issue. Rural Development Institute, has also made securing land rights to all landless and women’s land rights as one of its strategic objectives in India. It has already built in these issues in its programmes at state and national level. Hence, both working together on this issue to increase intensity of engagement of major stakeholders for realizing increased access to land by women farmers.

Impact by partner
  • Two national level media workshops and one state level media workshop has been organized in the year 2012-13 and 2013-14. As a result of the media workshops around 42 journalists from mainstream and vernacular media get sensitized on women farmers issues and on women land laws. The media event resulted into more than 17 mainstream media reports and opinion articles on women farmers’ issues.
  • 29 women farmers from six states of India- Odisha, UP, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand where Oxfam India works through its partners. Felicitation was successful to draw attention of policy makers and media despite of budget session; however, biggest achievement of the event was the energy it generated among women farmers for continued fight for their right.
  • 65 Civil Society Organization members’ capacity has been built on Land laws who are working in the ground with women farmers for increased movement for women farmers’ land application process.
  • A fact sheet on women land rights has been produced and widely distributed among the key stakeholders. A study on impact of women land rights ( joint land title vs. single land title) on women economic empowerment has been done in two districts of Uttar Pradesh.