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Women’s Access to Land and Economic Empowerment in Selected Nigerian Communities

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Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS,volume 58)


Despite various land policies that prescribe rights to land in many societies, women remain marginalized in access to and economic utilization of land. This is widespread in rural communities where informal institutions such as customs and traditions subsist. In most of these communities, the patriarchal structure of families is championed by the informal institutions that support male dominance. This study focuses on economic empowerment of women as it encapsulates sustainable wealth of women. It provides answers to two main research questions: (a) what kind of relationship exists between land access and empowerment of women? And (b) how important are individual and household attributes in informing women’s empowerment through land rights? The empirical results of this study provide some new insights as they demonstrate how land rights influence women’s economic empowerment. The study also finds that women’s earning capacity reduces when they take up the responsibility of becoming the heads of households and that their income increases as they become more educated.


  • Access to land
  • Economic empowerment
  • Gender equality
  • Land rights
  • Women

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-16166-2_4
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  1. 1.

    In this study, wealth and economic empowerment are used interchangeably because both of them represent the economic sustenance of the individual.

  2. 2.

    See Holden and Otsuka (2014).

  3. 3.

    This is about 146,000 hectares (ha) using 1 acre = 0.40469 ha.

  4. 4.

    Some respondents held some suspicion that the interviewers were government officials, who needed the information for revenue drive or land reallocation.

  5. 5.

    The household assets is a count variable of the assets in the respondents’ household. The assets of interest include motor cycle (popular means of transportation in these communities), car, TV set, fridge, air conditioner, beds and mattresses; generator sets (popular means of supply of electricity in these communities).

  6. 6.

    The community market is a central market that operates essentially on market days – every 4 days.


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We are grateful to Covenant University Centre for Research and Development for providing financial support for this project and the College of Development Studies Committee on Conference Support for offering useful advice and suggestions. We appreciate the field assistants and supervisors for timely data collection. The assistance of Oloyede Samuel; Edewor Patrick; Ajibola Olusola and Ayedun Caleb (all from Covenant University) during the in-depth interview of this project, are also acknowledged. Evans Osabuohien acknowledges the fellowship awarded by The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, under the auspices of Georg Forster Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers and the supports from his host institution, the German Development Institute, Bonn. The views expressed are those of the authors.

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Correspondence to Tayo O. George .

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Fig. 4.1
figure 1

Bar chart showing the income of women with and without land right

Table 4.8 Regression analysis 2

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George, T.O., Olokoyo, F.O., Osabuohien, E.S., Efobi, U., Beecroft, I. (2015). Women’s Access to Land and Economic Empowerment in Selected Nigerian Communities. In: Andrews, N., Khalema, N., Assié-Lumumba, N. (eds) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Retrospect. Social Indicators Research Series, vol 58. Springer, Cham.

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