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Women success stories from South East Europe


Women’s economic empowerment is essential in promoting equality between women and men and is a precondition for sustainable development.

To promote economic empowerment of rural women through the support of women entrepreneurship, it is crucial that women are informed about property rights, in particular in relation to agriculture businesses.
This collection of success stories from women from South East Europe will help to raise awareness of all women about their property rights and to amplify women’s voices and role in the rural economy.
The stories focus on women with issues in land property rights and on women’s entrepreneurship with farm or non-farm small businesses.

Although women’s land rights are vital to development, in practice these rights are often unequally shared between men and women, routinely set aside, denied, or given insufficient protection and enforcement. Women have less access to land than men and are often restricted to so-called ‘secondary land rights’, meaning that they hold land rights only via male family members.

Women thus risk losing entitlements in the case of divorce, widowhood or their husband’s migration. Clear ownership rights allow for these rights to be transferred via the sale or lease of land, and loans can be granted on capital markets as land can be used as collateral security.

The obstacles that prevent women from effectively enjoying these rights are complex. They range from inadequate legal frameworks and poor implementation, to patriarchal practices and religious precepts.

In regards to access to investments and subsidies, and thus to new income generating opportunities, women in rural areas are disproportionately disadvantaged due to a lack of property (agricultural land or real estate), insufficient education and a lack of adequate information and specific advisory services.

Besides education and training, it is therefore important to inform women in rural areas about their property rights, to share best practices and success stories that showcase how women establish and sustain entrepreneurship.

This publication was produced with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH regional project “Support to Economic Diversification of Rural Areas in Southeast Europe” (SEDRA), implemented jointly by the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group in Southeast Europe (SWG) and GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Legal Reform in the framework of a regional awareness campaign: “Empowered women, empowered economy”.

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