Campaigning for women’s right to property in a dominantly patriarchal society like Nepal is both a challenge and an opportunity. After actively campaigning for land rights and reform for decades, National Land Rights Forum (NLRF) and Community Self Reliance Center (CSRC), our friends in Nepal, successfully established Joint Land Ownership (JLO). JLO means officially registering the land and houses under both the husband’s and wife’s names. This legally ensures a couple’s joint ownership of property.
CSRC and NLRF believe that women should have rights over means of production including land, in order to end violence, discrimination, exploitation, and injustice, and to develop a sustainable, just, equitable, and progressive society. Women’s contributions to Nepali agriculture are immense. About 84 percent of women are farming, and they contribute about 60 percent of the agricultural production. But their participation has been limited to labor without control or ownership of land. Women have not been consulted, nor is their consent sought or required, when a male head of the household buys or sells land, or uses land as collateral for a loan.