TOP
Tuesday,September 29,2020 04:49 AM
  • Home
  • Opinion
  • Why it is important to acknowledge women's plight to land

Why it is important to acknowledge women's plight to land

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th August 2015 12:20 PM

To Ugandans, land means more than just a piece of soil or real estate; it is a link to the past and long seeded heritage that combines a sense of ownership and belonging.

Why it is important to acknowledge women's plight to land

To Ugandans, land means more than just a piece of soil or real estate; it is a link to the past and long seeded heritage that combines a sense of ownership and belonging.

By Gerald Padde Auku

To Ugandans, land means more than just a piece of soil or real estate; it is a link to the past and long seeded heritage that combines a sense of ownership and belonging.

If well managed through inclusive legislations and well implemented, land can potentially serve as a tool to improve livelihood to achieve sustainable development that any leadership in Africa or in the world would wish to see in its citizens.

However, the changing political and economic climate has placed increasing monetary value on land perpetuated by increasing urbanisation, discovery of naturally resources such as oil and other minerals and high poverty levels.

This realities coupled by unregulated guidelines on the transactions has created many middlemen (dealers) in the sector. As a result of selfishness of men and society gendered perception, has impacted negatively to women’s relationship with land.

Women play a monumental role in agriculture and according to (Rugadya, 2010), only 16% own any form of land in their own right. The formal processes of government marginalize women’s relationship to land though they make up the majority of the informal land working force.

This is in spite of the fact that in 1998, Uganda enacted a Land Act that was supposed to address historical gender imbalances in land ownership. This legislation claimed it would herald in an era of women’s rights support, the reality has proved differently.

The Land Act was supposed to ensure that the constitutional land rights of women were to be protected, particularly by reinforcing and reforming customary laws and practices. However, customary laws have persisted and entrenched patriarchal norms within society that marginalize women’s access to land regardless of relevant legislation.

Laws and practices provide ownership of land to men or male heads of families while women are given limited secondary rights, in the form of access and use of the land through their male representative.

Currently there are many barriers to women’s land ownership though Uganda’s statutory laws grant men and women equal rights over land. Unfortunately the application of these laws is almost non-existent.

The recognition of both statutory laws, which are in theory gender neutral, and customary law, which are culturally bound and patriarchal, has created legal pluralism that pits the laws against one another.

This tension is further aggravated by a lack of legal knowledge among woman and weak institutional capacity that prevents effective enforcement and administration of laws. Access to land is limited by both the formal and informal, whether it is socioeconomic status, insecurity or government policy.

However, since women are disenfranchised by gender their oppression and limited access to land is doubled, purely by gender. These barriers to land ownership and knowledge prohibit women from exercising their legal control over land, thus perpetuating cultural norms of male dominance that disenfranchise women.

To mitigate women’s disenfranchisement, vulnerability and insecurity when it comes to land right, use and ownership government and civil society need to critically work closely to fix the mess.

The stripping of women as seen recently in Uganda is a sign of discontent and only option to express the grief.   The loss of trust in rule of law, corruption at both informal and formal institutions is primarily contributing factor to the behavior.

Government should seriously consider implementing the existing laws as well as passing the national land police and expediting the succession bill that has been shelved, women’s representation in land committees as well as land boards.

This will allow women’slevel of control that will not only improve their livelihood but also ensure sustainable development given their numbers and the responsibility in communities and homes.

The writer works with Transparency International Uganda

Why it is important to acknowledge women’s plight to land

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author