The impact of gender inequality in relation to land ownership

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The questions of gender still collide a lot with traditional misconception in many societies. The misconception is that men are fit to own land. This phenomenon is even treated as societal norm that women have to abide by. This explains why greater percentage of land in most areas still have ownership under men, whereas women have defined responsibilities as far as the issue of land is concerned. The only opportunity for women is cultivation, harvesting and transporting the produce home and mostly it applies to the rural women.

Worse still, with the current commercial era, land has become a commodity which can be sold and bought at any price agreed upon. The main engines behind transaction are solely men at the expense of women ideas about the transaction. There is a lot of conflicting loyalty in case a woman contemplates asking more about the transaction this eventually creates family instability more over, the money obtained from selling land is not always put to proper use. For example some women complained about cases of alcoholism and some men end up taking on more wives.

The inequality is common because of traditional and family indoctrination which makes women so submissive to their husbands and therefore forego some of their rights in order to win the loyalty of their spouses. In addition, many women are still illiterate and ill- inspired about their rights. Most rural women do not visit information centers within their communities and yet they could access a lot of relevant information materials which could have otherwise inspired them. Some of the reasons could be due to the heavy work load and limited time, long distances to these centres or even others having the perception that it is a thing for men.

A woman of 28 years of age from Pamuca parish, Amuru district was once interviewed by one of the VSAC member about her consideration as a woman in land issues. She said that, “the consideration has never gone beyond cultivation, harvesting and transporting the produce home”. She further added that after primary cultivation, planting is done by the whole family as usual but when it comes to weeding and harvesting, women dorminate. She noted that only women of certain age regiments about (50+years) are given family special consideration in land issues. This is only because they have older sons and daughters in the family and there is no expectation of them going away from that family, mean while women of 30 years and below still face a lot of challenges in regard to land and property ownership.

The situation of gender inequality in relation to land ownership creates long term problems for instance if a woman lost a husband, she is always denied ownership of land and other property of the deceased and yet as a widow with the children in the family she deserves fair treatment in the family. This act is so demeaning to women, especially as mothers of the nation.

Conclusively, both men and women need to be taken back to the drawing board and given full sensitization. Although rigidly instilled, traditional and some cultural misconceptions need concerted efforts in order to combat them.

WOUGNET, under its program area of “gender and ICT advocacy policy” is greatly bringing a wind of change towards empowerment and creating peaceful environment for women and men to co-exist in the community and to advocate for gender sensitive projects and programs.

By

Acen Sharon

Amuru district