Resource Equity is a small nonprofit with big ideas.
Founded in 2014 by four female lawyers who have more than 40 years combined experience working to advance women's social and economic rights, we have seen that strengthening women’s rights to land leads to positive changes for women, their families, and their communities. We work to empower women by addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality.
Across the world, women’s rights to land and resources are key to increasing food security, reducing poverty, and mitigating conflict. Yet in most developing countries, existing laws do little to protect those rights. Even where legal rights to land for women exist, persistent challenges, from cultural barriers to a lack of understanding among government agencies and individuals, prevent women from realizing the promise of those rights. When women do not have rights to the land they farm, their work is unrecognized, and they do not have control over the income or production from the land. Women are, in effect, unpaid laborers.
Equity in land rights is fair and just, but securing women’s rights to land and resources has effects beyond this.
Evidence from around the world shows that when women have secure rights to assets like land, they use these assets to feed, clothe, educate, and care for their families. If women worldwide had the same access and rights to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30% and raise total agricultural output by 2.5–4%.
At Resource Equity, we work with women and men around the world to improve women’s access to, use of, and control over land. We advocate for changes to laws, policies, and programs so that women can have rights to land, and we help people to make these changes happen.
We need your help to make women's land rights real.
While most of our funding comes from foundations and governments, in our work we often encounter situations where a small amount of funding would enable us to leverage our experience to make a big difference in the lives of women. For instance, while working in Cabo Verde on a large land titling and registration program recently, we learned that there were legal obstacles preventing women and men who live together but are not married from jointly registering their legal property rights. Because legal marriages are very uncommon in Cabo Verde, this meant that men were often listed as sole owners of property that was by law jointly owned. This leaves women vulnerable. Their partners are free to sell the land without their consent, and they may have to leave the land if their partner dies or if they break up.
This situation presented an opportunity to work with local activists and lawyers to advocate for changes to the law. These changes would ensure that both women and men's rights will be registered in the new land administration system.
Similarly, we are frequently asked to support and advise women who are working on these issues with little support or experience. While we do this informally, funding through the Equity Fund would enable us to increase our impact, mentoring many more women who want to do good work but have no one to work with and learn from.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 for our Equity Fund before the end of the year.
The Equity Fund will enable Resource Equity to be more nimble and responsive, and to take advantage of opportunities to advance women's rights as they arise.