FAO recently announced the launching of a new database focusing on gender equality in land relations. The Gender and Land Rights Database can be searched by both country and thematic issues, including national and international legal frameworks, customary law, land tenure institutions, civil society institutions and land-related statistics. The FAO press release announcing the launch noted that the database was developed in response to consist demand for information on this topic, which, as FAO notes, is a good sign in and of itself:
“Disparity in land access is one of the major causes for social and economic inequalities between males and females in rural areas. It jeopardizes food security at the household and community levels, and has an impact on national food security and development. It is vital information for policy makers. But until now, finding information on this phenomenon in one place has been difficult to come by,” Marcela Villarreal, Director, FAO Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division said as the new database was placed online.
The new information tool, available to anyone with access to the Internet, provides policymakers and other users with a better picture of the major social, economic, political and cultural factors which affect access to land and enforcement of women’s land rights.
As with any new initiative (this blog included), there are likely to be growing pains. I took my first foray into the new database with a somewhat random request for the full country reports on Afghanistan and Cambodia. While Afghanistan came back blank, the Cambodia report was a pretty impressive compilation of information – relevant, well-organized, quite up to date at first blush and well-sourced, with footnoted and hyper-linked citations.