Apart from the legal, economic and policy constraints to women's access to land, the systems for land delivery in many countries pose problems to any citizen trying to acquire land. The situation is more difficult for the poor, and even more so for women, who may not have the necessary money and information.
Lack of access to land serious implications for the poor. For women in the rural subsistence economy, land means a place to live, to work, to grow food and to get building materials. In rural areas where population pressure, wide-scale cultivation of cash crops or commercial exploitation are eroding traditional lands, the burden on women to maintain shelters and feed families is increasing. In urban areas, women-headed households predominate among low-income and informal settlements. These settlements tend to located on marginal land precisely because it is the least attractive to land developers. However, settlements on such land tend to be crowded, dangerous, lacking space on which to grow food or too polluted for growing food. Evictions, when they come, affect entire families.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends that governments and others protect, recognize and formalize women's access to tenure and use of land, as well as rights to land, access to credit, technology, inputs and training.