Women Owning Land
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CTA. 1998. Women Owning Land. Spore 76. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48132
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore76.pdf
WOMEN OWNING LANDThe issue of land tenure ? also addressed in Spore 75 ? is crucial to agricultural productivity. In certain circumstances the issue becomes critical, as in the case of societies which have lost much of their male population through...
The issue of land tenure ? also addressed in Spore 75 ? is crucial to agricultural productivity. In certain circumstances the issue becomes critical, as in the case of societies which have lost much of their male population through AIDS or internal conflict. Currently, about two-thirds of the adult population in Rwanda is female, and one-third of women are thought to be widowed. In the aftermath of the genocide, widows may be forced off the land or unable to return because of their limited property rights. Widows without sons are particularly vulnerable to losing their property to their deceased husband's relatives. Those widows who do retain access to land may face labour shortages in peak seasons. In pre-conflict Rwanda, women did not have rights to own or inherit land but gained use rights through their husbands. Moreover, widows' access to land depended on the willingness of their sons to protect those rights. Young widows were often driven from their deceased husband's land by his kin. Many marriages were unregistered, further weakening women's claim on land. The Ministry for Rehabilitation, which is now headed by a woman, has plans to support advocates to uphold widows' land rights. For agricultural rehabilitation to succeed, the access of women farmers to land and other resources must be addressed. Based on a Rwanda case study, in: Gender, Conflict and Development, BRIDGE Report 35, IDS, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.