Women’s Rights to Community Forests

RRI captures qualitative data on Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and community women’s legally recognized rights to community forests under the national laws of 30 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) containing 78 percent of LMIC forests around the world.

First published in Power and Potential in 2017, this Database provides an unprecedented assessment of the status of developing countries’ legal frameworks regarding women’s rights to community lands, and whether states are meeting their obligations under national and international laws.

The analysis builds on RRI’s “bundle of rights” assessment of the strength and content of Indigenous Peoples’, Afro-descendants’, and local communities’ legally recognized forest rights in order to identify and track the specific statutory rights of women within 80 community-based tenure regimes (CBTRs). The methodology analyzes eight legal indicators essential for the protection of women’s forest tenure rights:


Power and Potential concludes that national laws and regulations on the rights of Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and community women to inheritance, community membership, community-level governance, and community-level dispute resolution are consistently unjust, falling far below the requirements of international law and related standards. There is a particularly pressing need for legal reforms regarding women’s inheritance rights, as well as their community-level voting and leadership rights. Visit RRI’s Tenure Tool to explore RRI’s Gender Data.

To learn more about RRI’s work to advance and protect women’s rights to use, govern, and benefit from community lands, forests, and natural resources, see the Gender Justice page.