In Bolivia, women in urban areas face many struggles related to infrastructure and paternalistic society structures. They often have to travel long distances to get to work, and housing frequently does not meet their demands in terms of accessibility and safety.
However, they face one major additional difficulty: Insecure land tenure. Up until recently, women in Bolivia had not been recognised in titles of land ownership. Only a husband or male partner was mentioned in the official documents by name with no legal recognition for his wife or female partner. If the husband or man passed away or left, women had no secure tenure and legally no rights to the land and property they lived on.
To change this, Habitat for Humanity International started a campaign to legally recognise women as landowners in Bolivia. A School for Women Leaders on Secure Tenure was set up as a hub to spread knowledge on rights, responsibilities and barriers to accessing secure tenure. In March 2012, Women Leaders from this project proposed a change to the Plurinational Assembly (Bolivia’s national legislative body) regarding the land tenure law in Bolivia in order to recognise women’s land rights. The proposal was successfully passed by Bolivia’s legislature a few months later.
Couples can now have their properties officially mapped and registered with the local government and can have their legal documents updated. So far, over 85 000 people have updated their land titles so that now both partners are legally registered as landowners.
To see the brave women of the project in action, watch the video by CoLab for Change produced in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity Bolivia, Cities Alliance and Slum Dwellers International (SDI):