Washington International Law Journal


Mina Manuchehri


In recent years, multinational corporations, in particular food and beverage companies, have committed to “zero tolerance for land grabs” throughout their supply chains. To achieve this end, companies have also committed to international legal norms, including Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Although these commitments were unprecedented, no company explicitly requires the consideration of women’s use of and rights to land when remedying land grabs or acquiring land. To guarantee that women are included and consulted throughout land acquisition processes, companies should explicitly require the application of a gender lens to such decisions, as women throughout the developing world are less likely than men to have decisionmaking authority over land acquisitions. If women are included in land acquisition processes, communities are less likely to be adversely impacted by land acquisitions, as women tend to serve different and unique community roles in relation to land than men—from growing subsistent crops and fetching water to ensuring that settlement locations are capable of providing basic necessities to communities. Through a textualist and purposivist analysis, this paper will argue that FPIC and the UNGPs require the application of a gender lens to land acquisition processes in order to comply with the international norms enumerated in each of these instruments.

First Page