Based on far-reaching changes in legislation, a number of countries have made progress in improving land administration to recognize a greater variety of informal land rights in line with a continuum of rights. However, even in cases where constitutional provisions (or relevant legislation) guarantee gender equality, inheritance for land remains heavily biased against women. As any change in this respect will require long time, India’s experience, where some states have reformed inheritance legislation through the Hindu Succession Act Amendment (HSAA) in the 1980s and 1990s before a 2005 amendment that extended the scope of this nationally, is thus of particular interest for other (African) countries where efforts in this respect are still in their infancy.
The challenges confronted are both methodological and substantive. The activity contributed to addressing these challenges in a number of ways:
- It provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of the HSAA using of gender-disaggregated household level data. The analysis finds very positive outcomes in a number of dimensions (including children’s and partners’ education, age at marriage, and autonomy), highlighting that legal change in this direction is an effective way to empower females.
- It has designed an in-depth survey module that will allow to assess the impact of this reform and that has already been applied in a number of settings in India, including Karnataka, and beyond.
- It has developed an agreement on a campaign to systematically inform women’s self help groups of their rights and is currently working on an agreement with grassroots organizations and government in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to do so.