Why do women own less than 20% of the world’s land?

By definition, if women own less than 20% of the world’s land then more than 80% is owned by men. This is not an area of the real estate market which is often discussed or covered in great detail but when you dig a little deeper it has a significant impact upon society and everyday life. When you bear in mind that your home is seen as a place of safety, how can it be that women own less than 20% of the world’s land when they make up around half of the worldwide population?

Land and national wealth

While the figures will vary from country to country, land and property account for a massive part of any nation’s wealth, hitting 75% in some areas of the world. So how is it that a phenomenal 75% of the world’s population have no ownership over the land on which they live or work?

Despite the fact there have been some great improvements in life across Africa, for example, did you know that 90% of land in Africa is still undocumented? Perhaps this is why many African countries are open to massive corruption which often goes unproven and in some cases unseen. If the land in question has no legal owner then it is difficult to make a case for theft.

Equality in real estate

If you live in a developed Western country you will no doubt look at the above figures in amazement. Many of us live in a world where equality has been legalised, where men and women have equal rights and there is no stigma attached to real estate ownership, whether man, woman or corporation. However, this is not the same across the world and a United Nations survey has highlighted many disturbing issues.


One very important factor which has become evident in light of the United Nations data is the empowerment which the ownership of property gives to men and women. Historically entrepreneurs have tended to be male purely because of an imbalance in society but again that is changing. There are now a growing number of female real estate investors who are proving an inspiration to younger women.

In some countries around the world there may be laws to encourage equality but sometimes cultural issues and local laws can curtail these equality moves. Unfortunately in the past many people have accepted this as a way of life although some strong entrepreneurial women have taken up the challenge and are pushing for greater female ownership of real estate. At the end of the day while all parties of a family will contribute to the cost of family life, on average 90% of a woman’s income goes on her family.


While there are many reasons why real estate ownership is unbalanced around the world, much of it is down to culture, local laws and a lack of equality legislation. This is a subject that needs to be discussed in more detail, brought out into the open and tackled by the politicians. In the Western world we take it for granted that women and men have equal rights across society, including property ownership, but in many developing countries this is not the case.

For those looking towards overseas property investments some of these developing countries in question will undergo enormous changes in the medium to longer term. These changes should introduce opportunities for both domestic and international investors and in time they will help to rebalance the tilted seesaw of real estate ownership.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>