Ensuring property rights for women worldwide is vital for building a strong economic foundation for developing countries to succeed in the global economy. Without access to property or legal titles of land, women are at an extreme disadvantage and are marginalized from participating in the formal economy, accessing credit, and private sector investment in their businesses. Acknowledging this issue, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has initiated a groundbreaking Land Reform program in Lesotho in order to stimulate private sector investment. Working in conjunction with the Lesotho government, the MCC is following through on a five-year, $363 million compact to reform the country’s land and legal sectors.
By registering land parcels currently informally occupied by citizens, both the MCC and the government hope to make Lesotho’s economy more attractive to private investment, while also insuring formal land security and enabling them to use land titles as capital for loans and credit.
The MCC specifically prioritizes land rights for women, recognizing that legal reform is needed in the arena of property ownership in order to expand women’s participation in Lesotho’s economic growth. In harmonization with Lesotho’s own Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act, which removed the minority status of women in the eyes of the government in 2006, the compact is working to provide women with educational tools and awareness of their new legal status and the opportunities for economic growth that accompany it. Furthermore, the MCC is working with the government to create conditions for joint titling, which is just a small step towards full gender equality for women in the region.
Learn more about MCC In Action in Lesotho.