“Now I Have Equal Rights with My Husband”: Joint Land Ownership

Equality begins in the home
(Bibesika Bhurtel)

House reconstruction has entailed tremendous efforts on the part of both husbands and wives, but when it comes to claiming legal ownership over the property, the wife’s share in this work is often forgotten. Traditionally, land and property are inherited from father to son(s) in a patrilineal system that leaves wives and daughters with no legal share. This puts women in a very vulnerable position in the case of widowhood, divorce, or a husband taking a second wife (an illegal but nevertheless common practice). It also means that women have no collateral against taking loans and are thus often denied credit. Only about 5% of land in Nepal is owned by women.

In 2011, the government of Nepal introduced a policy of Joint land Ownership (JLO). This provides an easy mechanism for husbands and wives to register their land in both their names, paying a mere Rs 100 (less than USD 1) as a registration fee to the land revenue office. However, the policy was not widely adopted – in part because of limited public awareness of its provisions, and in part because men did not see it as being in their interest.

Helvetas and its local partner Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC) have been supporting couples to register their house and land jointly, under the JLO scheme. There are now 523 households in Melamchi municipality and Helambu rural municipality that have registered JLO – covering some 333.94 hectares in total.

Hesitant husbands
It takes good arguments to persuade a man that everyone would be better off if his wife’s name was on the family land deeds as well as his own. Helvetas and CSRC have sought to portray households with JLO as being strengthened. Husbands can feel proud that, whatever happens to them, they have ensured the future of their wives and children to the best of their ability. Meanwhile, wives clearly have a legal security over the household assets that they never enjoyed in the past – despite generally undertaking the bulk of the farm and domestic labor. According to Thala Pasad Dangal, who has a JLO certificate with his wife Goma Dangal (both are featured, with their grandson, in the header photograph):

Goma Dangal, who is quoted in the title, stressed the issue of equal rights; for her this is an important principle to have established. 

CSRC Nepal


Regional Environmental Policy Dialogue

Securing land rights of women and indigenous peoples in the face of climate change in South Asia

 4- 6 April 2023 | Park Village Resort, Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu, Nepal

The National Land Coalition (NLC) Nepal, is holding a Regional Environmental Policy Dialogue on 'Securing IPLCs and women's land rights for increasing communities' adaptative capacity facing climate change in South Asia' from 4-6 April 2023 in Kathmandu, Nepal. This forum is co-organized with the Community-self Reliance Centre (CSRC), International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia and the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMCPA), Government of Nepal and supported by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) Asia.

The event provides an interactive forum for sharing, , discussion and reflection on recent policy development and future challenges to people centered land governance in support of inclusive and equitable climate change adaptation, mitigation, and local agency in South Asia, namely – Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

The event is open to participants from all over the world who are interested in understanding land and environmental issues in South Asia and developing professional ties for opportunities to contribute to this domain. The conference provides a platform for professionals involved in land rights, gender transformative approaches, human rights-based instruments and land governance to exchange knowledge and gain insight into the state of the art in the current land-related policies, innovation, and solutions. Participants include a wide variety of stakeholders from civil society organizations (CSOs), social movements, development partners, and academia as well as government agencies.

Important Dates:

Preconference Events15 and 21 March 2023
Pre-event – I: Social inclusion & gender justice among south Asia’s people’s organisations led National Land Coalitions (NLCs)15 March 2023
Pre-event – II: Challenges and opportunities to operationalise commitments made under the Rio+ Conventions in South Asia21 March 2023
Arrival in Nepal3 April 2023
Main Conference4-6 April 2023
Departure6 April 2023

For more information, please visit https://www.lgwg.org / https://www.csrcnepal.org / https://asia.landcoalition.org/en/engage-ilc-asia/events-opportunities/regional-policy-dialogue-securing-womens-land-rights-in-south-asia/ and/or contact  nes_nepal@landcoalition.info

Focal person: Dharm Raj Joshi, National Coordinator, NLC Nepal

Contact Address:

National Land Coalition (NLC) Nepal C/O

Community Self-reliance Centre (CSRC)


Tokha-7, Dhapasi | Indrapuri Awas-361, Kathmandu

Tel: (+977 1) 4 357 005/ 4 360 486  | Mobile/WA: +977 9849 206101 Email: dharmraj.joshi@gmail.com  / nes_nepa@landcoalition.info / landrights@csrcnepal.org