CGIAR Gender

Webinar: ‘Women’s land: Beyond “access” to rights’

The CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research hosted the webinar ‘Women’s land: Beyond “access” to rights‘ on Friday September 7. The webinar was organized in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Webinar recording Click on the link (left) and enter the password: xE8gqZW7

Planting Gnetum [okok] (photo credit: CIFOR / Ollivier Girard)
Planting Gnetum [okok] (photo credit: CIFOR / Ollivier Girard)



For most rural households, land is the most valuable asset and the foundation for agricultural production. While a large literature exists on the relationships between land tenure security, livelihoods, and poverty, most of this literature is based on household-level data, and we know little about women’s land rights. As a growing body of research demonstrates the importance of women’s ownership and control over assets, this webinar will discuss definitions of women’s land rights and tenure security, and review the evidence on why this matters for development outcomes.

Purpose of the webinar

Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Cheryl Doss, and Sophie Theis presented findings from their recently published review on how women’s land rights can reduce poverty through a range of pathways, including bargaining power, human capital investment, intergenerational transfers, natural resource management, agricultural productivity, credit, technology adoption, empowerment, health, and food security. The webinar discussed the strength and agreement of the available evidence along these pathways and opportunities for designing, implementing, and evaluating approaches that build on this knowledge base to strengthen women’s land rights for women’s empowerment and other development outcomes.

Related resources

Meinzen-Dick, R., Quisumbing, A.R., Doss, C., Theis, S. 2017. Women’s land rights as a pathway to poverty reduction: A framework and review of available evidence. Agricultural Systems.

Doss, C. and R. Meinzen-Dick. 2018. Women’s land tenure security: A conceptual framework. Background paper. Research Consortium.


Webinar discussants

Ruth Meinzen-Dick is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and co-leader of the Flagship on Governance of Natural Resources under the CGIAR program on Policies, Institutions and Markets.    She received her MSc and PhD degrees in Development Sociology from Cornell University.  Much of her work has been interdisciplinary qualitative and quantitative research on land and water policy, property rights, governance arrangements, gender analysis, and the impact of agricultural research on poverty.  She has over 150 peer reviewed publications, including Collective Action and Property Rights for Poverty Reduction: Insights from Africa and Asia.

Cheryl Doss is Senior Departmental Lecturer in Development Economics and Associate Professor in the Department of International Development at Oxford University. Dr. Doss is a development economist whose research focuses on issues related to assets, agriculture and gender with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She has published extensively on intrahousehold decision-making, technology adoption, gender issues in agricultural development, and the gender asset and wealth gaps. She co-leads the Gender Asset Gap Project, which has demonstrated both the feasibility and importance of collecting individual-level asset data in household surveys. Since 2012, she has been the gender advisor for the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), and currently leads PIM’s Flagship 6: Cross-cutting Gender Research and Coordination. Dr. Doss works with a range of international organizations on issues including best approaches for collecting sex-disaggregated data, gender and agriculture, intrahousehold resource allocation, and women’s asset ownership. In recent years, she has worked with UN Women, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, DfID, the AfricaN Development Bank, and the UN Foundation on issues of women’s asset ownership.

Agnes Quisumbing, an IFPRI Senior Research Fellow, co-leads a research program that examines how closing the gap between men’s and women’s ownership and control of assets may lead to better development outcomes. Her research interests include poverty, gender, property rights, and economic mobility. She has also worked on women’s land rights in Ghana, the Philippines, and Sumatra, longitudinal studies in Bangladesh, Guatemala, and the Philippines, and is currently engaged in impact evaluations of agricultural development programs, focusing on their impacts on gender asset inequality. A citizen of the Philippines, Quisumbing joined IFPRI in 1995. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from the University of the Philippines, Quezon City, and her A.B. in economics from De La Salle University in Manila.

Sophie Theis is a Senior Research Analyst and gender specialist in the Environment and Production Technology Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, D.C. In this role she leads mixed methods research related to gender and rural livelihoods in East Africa and South Asia and collaborates with donors and implementing organizations on designing gender-responsive rural development programs and strategies. Her areas of interest include linking qualitative and quantitative methods and bridging research and practice. Prior to joining IFPRI, Sophie worked at the World Bank and the U.S. Department of State on agriculture and land use policy in Latin America. She holds an M.S. and B.S. from Stanford University’s environmental policy program with a concentration in environmental anthropology.