Exploring and assessing STDM and LADM for gender equitable land administration

C.H.J. Lemmen, E.M. Unger, M. Lengoiboni, Marisa Balas, Kholoud Saad, Rohan Bennett, Peter J.M. van Oosterom, J.A. Zevenbergen, Martinus Vranken

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International laws and frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its defined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with the Voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security (VGGTs) are key global cornerstones in the protection of women’s land rights and enabler for women to get land rights. Land rights for women is an issue that is linked to broader issues across geographical regions and cultural and religious differences. The SDGs specifically target women’s land and property rights in ending poverty (target 1.4), achieving food security (target 2.3) and ensuring gender equality (target 5a). To achieve these goals and to act according to these global policies, namely, to have equal land rights for women and men, land ownership and land use records need to include both genders. Though, in many countries, such records are non-existent or not up to date or do not show the reality on the ground. As a result, women are often passed over by the government during tenure recordation processes.

Further overlapping or secondary land rights have been lost through formal land registration systems (women are often these ‘secondary land right holders’, where men are mostly the primary right holder). Consequently, the livelihoods of those relying on the secondary land rights, which are often overlapping use rights to property rights, have been negatively affected. Issues such as: polygamy, monogamy, divorce, inheritance, primary and secondary rights, shares in property and use rights, legal systems (statutory, customary) are directly related to women’s land rights.

More specifically, the required supportive data models, forms and databases that could support women’s land rights are either not designed or used in a way that is gender equitable. Aimed at overcoming these issues, supporting and enhancing the protection of the land rights of women and underrepresented, fit-for-purpose land administration promotes alternative approaches to improve land tenure security.

The Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) and the related Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) functionalities can be used for documenting primary and secondary land rights of women. The STDM concept promotes the recordation of a range of land rights including de-facto tenure rights, as well as capturing a variety or multiplicity of tenures that often overlap. In this paper, the contemporary and available options for modelling women’s land rights and use rights in land recording systems will be unpacked, opportunities identified, along with limitations, and work to overcome these suggested. Concepts of land administration are neutral to politics, and can accommodate any number of classifications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019
Event8th Land Administration Domain Model Workshop 2019 - Istana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 1 Oct 20193 Oct 2019
Conference number: 8


Workshop8th Land Administration Domain Model Workshop 2019
Abbreviated titleLADM 2019
CityKuala Lumpur
Internet address


  • Gender Equitable Land Administration
  • LADM
  • STDM
  • women's land rights


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