These factors frequently result in rural women not owning of having the legal capacity to administer the land which they cultivate. Aside from the inequities of the situation there are various negative consequences for development. Lack of landownership also limits women's participation in cooperative organizations, both credit generating and other types of collective organizations which are important elements of development. Cooperative regulations and by-laws frequently limit membership to landowners and or heads of family, thereby eliminating an important source of credit and participation for rural women in development at the grass roots level. In many countries where land has been nationalized and landownership is no longer a factor, membership in cooperatives and collective organizations is often limited to heads of family, thereby eliminating the participation of the majority of rural women. The head of family concept is prevalent in land reform legislation thereby eliminating the majority of women from receiving the full benefits of these reforms. Land reform legislation which merely prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex does not ensure land access to women.
Land is still the most important form of collateral for agricultural credit. If, due to lack of landownership, women are not able to obtain credit for agricultural inputs, and must resort to high interest unsecured loans or to the mortgaging or advanced sale of crops, the land they cultivate will be less economically productive. This may result in women contributing less to rural economies and having less economic incentive to better utilize their productive resources.