Empowering women in Bolivia

In Bolivia, gender inequality often plays a substantial role in a family’s insecure tenure, or the state of living with the constant threat of eviction.

Land is owned mostly by men, owing to inheritance or marriage privileges and a bias toward men in the land market and land distribution programs. Women have very little access to land and regularly risk dispossession if widowed, divorced or abandoned.

In order to improve that access and ensure more security of tenure, Habitat Bolivia is training female heads of household to serve as community leaders and secure tenure promoters in the city of Cochabamba.

Recently, 300 women (and 42 men) graduated from an 18-week Habitat training program that covered housing, human rights, advocacy and leadership topics. These graduates will now lead a “Women’s Network” to examine local land issues and serve as community consultants on tenure and related issues.

Secure land tenure, says Habitat’s advocacy manager for Latin America and the Caribbean Maria Luisa Zanelli, is an important step toward achieving Habitat’s mission.

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