LRFRP Success Story: USAID Supports Integrating a Gender Approach in Land Legislation

Agriculture in Tajikistan accounts for 75% of total employment and women represent 70% of the labor force in this sector. It means that women play a key role in the land reform implementation in Tajikistan. Despite their significant role in this sector, very few women own or have control over land.

The USAID Land Reform and Farm Restructuring Project closely works with the Interministerial Working Group on Land Management, which is tasked with leading policy reform initiatives for land reform and farm restructuring in Tajikistan.

One of the tasks of the Working Group is to amend the Dehkan Farm Law that is the legal basis to ensure farming and land-use rights in Tajikistan. On May 26-28 2014, the project conducted an outside event for the members of the Working Group to discuss implementing land reform in such a way that women and men equally benefit. To be sure that the law protects men and women, a gender approach is an integral part in drafting this Law.

Gender Expert Angelika Brustinow presented her recommendations and new “Gender Checklist” for government officials to use as a tool to ensure that women have equal representation in new land legislation.Land reform in Tajikistan started after the country gained its independence. Today, land reform in Tajikistan has received considerable attention and is focused on giving farmers equal alienable land-use rights that will enable them to buy, sell, or mortgage their land plots, and create conditions for land-use rights market development.

She presented her analysis of land legislation on gender aspect and conducted training on gender issue in the legislation drafting for the members of the Working Group. Based on expert’s recommendations and proposals of the Working Group members, a checklist- a toolkit was developed. The list consists of essential questions for lawmakers to address when they are drafting new laws such as, “Could the passing of this (draft) law lead to further exacerbate gender imbalance?” or “Has a gender analysis been carried of the issues which the (draft) law addresses?”

All members of the Working Group supported the proposed checklist and noted that this is a very important tool and mechanism to improve the current land legislation and the necessity to make it more gender sustainable and guarantee equal access to land. As a result of this training, Tajik lawmakers will now use the gender checklist tool when drafting land reform legislation.