In both rural and urban settings, land and house remains the primary properties that shape the equations of power between men and women irrespective of their caste, class and creed. Research shows that when women own land and house, it leads to transformative change for herself, her family and the society in terms of production, gender equity, women's agency, and liberty. However, a woman is conditioned to think that she may have moral right over her late husband's property, but she does not have any moral right over her parent's property since the parents have already paid dowry as her share at the time of her marriage. In addition, the women's knowledge of law and procedures regarding land ownership, inheritance, and user rights are nearly absent, preventing them from taking individual and collective actions to claim their land. Through our campaign "Give Women their Share", we want to demand property rights for women to enhance their dignity, security, freedom, reduction in violence along with their economic empowerment. We want to portray the land and property rights scenario for women in rural and urban areas, challenges for accessing and owning assets and ask the larger citizenry to initiate action at the individual and collective levels.
Despite significant economic and social progress, India is still host to deep gender inequalities due to the unjustifiable patriarchal social norms and practices that fundamentally value a woman as a lesser mortal than man.
Among the many factors that determine and perpetuate these norms and practices, ownership and management of property is the key one that defines social status, dignity, relations of power and domination. In both rural and urban settings, land and house remains the primary properties that shape the equations of power between men and women irrespective of their caste, class and creed.
Oxfam India is demanding a shift in community attitudes towards women’s land rights. Through our campaign we want to question the silent assumptions both men and women make about property rights in India. We want to inspire push men to give their daughters and wives their property rights, and encourage women to claim the rights due to them under law.