The Working Group of Women for Land Ownership (WGWLO) is Gujarat state based network committed to sustained grassroots action and policy advocacy around the issue of women’s land rights, including access and ownership over Land and other productive resources. Initiated in 2002, WGWLO today has a diverse membership of more than 40 NGOs and CBO (community based organization) and individuals with varied expertise, across 17 out of total 33 districts of Gujarat.
In its 15 years of functioning, WGWLO has been successfully able to address the issue of women’s land ownership from the perspectives of women’s rights and empowerment as well as livelihood enhancement. Since 2009 onward, expansion of land rights agenda has come into practice – from women’s ownership of private land, the network has expanded land rights of women to public land including forest land, common land and government land from a gender perspective. The agenda of land rights and right to productive resource was gradually elaborated and consolidated by working with women farmers for sustainable agriculture. The Network uses its collective strength to lobby for change at various levels through forging strategic alliances with existing other Networks, influencing Government and non-Government agencies, and mass media.
The three main ways by which women can own land, they are – inheritance and partition of land for women’s ownership, purchase from the market and state transfers. The WGWLO initially decided to focus on private land as 86% of arable land in India is privately owned. While looking at wider land issues, WGWLO has articulated usufruct rights of women, women farmer’s definition (considering all women as farmers, especially pastoral communities, salt farmers) and rights.
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