2.3.1. Resource 1: Assets


Access to and control over assets, as well as decision-making regarding their use and development, are crucial for women’s financial security and underpin their overall economic empowerment. Evidence supports the importance of control over household assets, including land and housing, for women’s greater self-esteem, respect from family members, economic opportunities, mobility outside of the home, and decision-making. Unfortunately, in many contexts, women’s command over assets is often curtailed because of discriminatory legal and customary law provisions that reinforce gender inequalities, as well as informal social norms and practices. This section provides additional information on the importance of women’s command over various key assets, namely technology, land, and property, for women’s economic empowerment.


Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA)—The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020

This report examines how the mobile gender gap is changing quickly in low- and middle-income countries, revealing how the main factors preventing women’s equal mobile ownership and internet use are evolving over time, and demonstrating how mobile usage is quickly expanding as smartphone ownership rises. The report offers data on the mobile gender gap and suggests how closing it will generate commercial benefits for the mobile industry and provide a catalyst for economic growth. Statistics relevant to the digital divide are provided, including an important data point:  more than 300 million fewer women than men access the internet on a mobile, and women are eight percent less likely than men to own a mobile phone.

USAID Gender Digital Divide Desk Review Report

This report provides an overview of the current status of the gender digital divide, with a particular focus on mobile phones and mobile Internet access and use. The report offers an analysis of why the digital divide exists, why closing the divide matters, and the potential risks for women and girls in using information and communication technology (ICT), as well as key recommendations to mitigate those risks. It forms part of the USAID Digital Strategy, which charts an agency-wide vision for development and humanitarian assistance in the world’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, through the “Closing the Gender Digital Divide” initiative.

USAID Gender Digital Divide Gender Analysis Technical Resource

This resource has been developed to address the constraints to women’s equitable participation in the economy, with a specific focus on the gender digital divide and women’s access to and use of ICT. It offers practical tools and resources to be used by USAID staff and partners as they integrate gender digital divide considerations into gender analyses with a women’s economic empowerment and gender equality (WEEGE) lens in strategic planning; project and activity design and implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. The tools include illustrative questions for integrating the gender digital divide into a gender analysis, insights into how closing the gender digital divide can help achieve USAID sector outcomes, suggested activities to undertake, illustrative sex-disaggregated indicators, and suggested key resources. It is designed to be used as a companion piece to the Gender Digital Divide Risk Mitigation Technical Note.

USAID Gender Digital Divide Risk Mitigation Technical Note

This Gender Digital Divide Risk Mitigation Technical Note has been developed to address the constraints to women’s equitable participation in the national, regional, and global economy. Key areas of focus are: women’s access to and use of ICT; the negative consequences and potential risks to women and girls entailed in coming online; and how to mitigate these risks. It offers practical steps, strategies, and resources to be used by USAID staff and partners for mitigating the risks associated with women and girls accessing and using ICT, with examples of on-the-ground solutions. It is designed to be used as a companion piece to the Gender Digital Divide Gender Analysis Technical Resource.

Women 20 (W20)—Argentina Recommendations for Action: Bridging the Digital Gender Gap

This concept note provides an overview of the importance of advancing digital inclusion for women, describes some of the challenges, and outlines recommendations for coordinated and effective action to support women’s empowerment and equal participation in the digital future. It identifies key areas where a gender perspective is required in an analysis of work by the countries from the Group of 20 (G20) nations to ensure digital inclusion, and it sets out practical recommendations for addressing the digital gender divide and improving women and girls’ access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

USAID—Gender and ICT Survey Toolkit

This toolkit will help to fill the gap in available, standardized resources for obtaining an overall landscape assessment of gender and ICT for USAID programming. It provides USAID and implementing partners with practical, well-researched tools they can use to obtain data on women’s access to and usage of mobile phones and other connected devices. These data can be used to inform project design or to create a baseline in order to understand the efficacy of an ICT intervention. The toolkit instructs users how to understand the implications of the landscape assessments and how to apply learnings to their portfolios.


Landesa—Women’s Land Tenure Framework for Analysis: Inheritance

This analytical framework assists practitioners interested in understanding the complex issues associated with women’s land rights. Intended to help development practitioners assess the current situation for gender issues in land tenure, the framework looks at a single question: Can women inherit land? It is geared to help practitioners think through both legal and customary rights to land inheritance, and to identify the gaps between law and practice.

Landesa—Gender and Collectively Held Land: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Six Global Case Studies

This report seeks to answer the question: Where collective tenure arrangements are being formalized or supported for the sake of securing the community’s rights to land, what steps are required to strengthen women’s land rights in the process? The report synthesizes findings from six case studies—China, Ghana, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Namibia, and Peru—that assess interventions to strengthen collective tenure and ensure that both women and men benefit from the improved land tenure security. At its core, the report asks practitioners to think not only in terms of the collective as a unit, but also to pay attention to the men and women that make up the collective, recognizing that gender differences will affect the success of the intervention for women and men. The report recommends that projects take steps to ensure that women’s rights are recognized and strengthened before and during any process to strengthen collective tenure.

Landesa—Leveraging the SDGs to Improve Women’s Land Rights

This report offers a case study from Brazil, where a local women’s group, Espaco Feminista, developed a model geared toward strengthening women’s land rights through a women-led local process that brought together communities, local government, and civil society to design, implement, and monitor land-related processes and policies. Landesa partnered with Espaco Feminista in Brazil and sought to replicate its model in other countries, as a conduit for strengthening women’s land rights and monitoring public policy at the local level through the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The researchers posit it can be an effective tool to help governments strengthen women’s land rights in critical ways as they work to deliver on their SDG commitments.

Landesa—Gender and Land: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Four Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact-Funded Land Projects

This report is a synthesis of promising practices gleaned from four case studies from Millennium Challenge Corporation-funded projects in Benin, Lesotho, Mali, and Namibia. The case studies assess how each project applied gender analysis to its design and implementation, seeking to understand how each project approached gender issues and how that approach impacted results. Ultimately, the case studies embedded within this report help practitioners understand what concrete steps can be taken toward closing the gender gap in land projects.

USAID—Marriage, Divorce, and Inheritance: A Review of the Personal and Family Laws Affecting Women’s Land Rights in Burma

This issue paper explores the potential gendered implications of the interaction between formal laws governing land and those governing family law, marriage, divorce, and inheritance in Burma. The study provides an overview of key policies and legislation; it identifies potential challenges for women in claiming and realizing rights to land under the formal legal system, as well as gaps in the land rights guaranteed to women. It also examines the ways these separate legal regimes might interact to hinder or prevent women’s equality in land ownership, use, and access.


United Nations High-Level Panel (UNHLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment—Driver 4 Working Group Paper: Building Assets—Digital, Financial and Property

The objective of this working group paper is to provide evidence on the widespread benefits in closing the gender gaps in digital and financial inclusion and asset ownership. It explores the multiple barriers that prevent women from accessing digital financial services, including self-bias, prices, and product and service design. The paper encourages stakeholders and practitioners to explore the complementarities among digital and financial inclusion and asset accumulation, and to identify the optimal combination of awareness-raising, literacy, education, and mentoring needed to equip women with the skills and confidence to effectively utilize technologies, financial services, and assets.