Women’s Land And Property Rights In Kenya

What Are Women’s Land And Property Rights In Kenya?

Despite the protection of women’s land and property rights under the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 and various national statutes, women in Kenya still face discrimination and disadvantage in practice.

The main source of restriction is customary laws and practices, which prohibit women from owning or inheriting land and other forms of property.

The Law of Succession Act provides more protections for widowers than widows, and widows lose their “lifetime interest” in property if they remarry.

However, the Kenyan government has enacted laws that aim to secure women’s rights to property and repealed several discriminatory laws.

The Marriage Act calls for registering all marriages, including customary marriages, and provides for equal property rights for spouses in the event of divorce or death.

The National Land Policy recognizes women’s rights to land and property and provides for the elimination of gender discrimination in land ownership and management.

Organizations such as the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-Kenya) are working to promote women’s land and property rights in Kenya.

FIDA-Kenya’s vision is to create a society that is free from all forms of discrimination against women by reason of their gender.

They have developed a training handbook that provides information on the extent to which the Constitution, the recently enacted land laws, and the National Land Policy protect women’s land and property rights in Kenya.

The handbook also introduces the Matrimonial Property Bill 2012, which could change the situation of women’s property rights if adopted.

What Are Some Of The Challenges Women Face In Securing Land And Property Rights In Kenya?

Despite the protection of women’s rights to land and property under the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 and various national statutes, women in Kenya still face challenges in securing land and property rights.

The main source of restriction is customary laws and practices, which continue to prohibit women from owning or inheriting land and other forms of property.

Widows, in particular, face discrimination in property inheritance, as the Law of Succession Act provides more protections for widowers than to widows since widows lose their “lifetime interest” in property if they remarry.

In addition to customary laws and practices, women in Kenya face challenges in accessing information and resources related to land and property rights.

Women also face challenges in participating in decision-making processes related to land and property rights, as these processes are often dominated by men.

Furthermore, women’s land rights are often not recognized or enforced, and women lack access to legal services to defend their rights.

Despite these challenges, the Kenyan government has enacted laws that aim to secure women’s rights to property and repealed several discriminatory laws.

Innovative approaches to land administration, including legal provisions protecting women’s land rights, have also been incorporated in recent gender-related land reforms in Africa south of the Sahara.

However, more needs to be done to address the challenges that women in Kenya face in securing land and property rights.

What Are Some Of The Legal Protections For Women’s Land And Property Rights In Kenya?

Women’s land and property rights are protected under the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 and various national statutes.

However, in practice, women still face discrimination and disadvantage, particularly due to customary laws and practices that prohibit women from owning or inheriting land and other forms of property.

The Kenyan government has enacted laws to secure women’s rights to property and repealed several discriminatory laws.

The Marriage Act calls for registering all marriages, including customary marriages, and provides for equal rights and responsibilities of spouses in marriage.

The Law of Succession Act provides for equal distribution of property among spouses and children, regardless of gender.

Despite these legal protections, widows still face challenges in inheriting property, particularly in areas where pastoral or agricultural land is governed by customary law and traditional practices.

The deceased’s father is given priority over the mother where there is no surviving spouse or children. Widows lose their “lifetime interest” in property if they remarry, while widowers are provided with more protections.

To address these challenges, organizations such as the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Kenya have developed training handbooks and conducted advocacy to promote women’s land and property rights.

The Matrimonial Property Bill 2012 has also been introduced to change the situation of women’s land and property rights in Kenya.

What Are The Recent Gender-Related Land Reforms In Africa?

In recent years, a new wave of gender-related land reforms has swept across Africa south of the Sahara. These reforms have incorporated innovative approaches to land administration, including legal provisions protecting women’s land rights, and efforts to minimize gender inequalities concerning land, housing, and property rights.

A report titled “Gender Equality in Rural Africa: From Commitments to Outcomes” was launched during the inaugural session of the 2019 ReSAKSS Annual Conference in Lomé, Togo.

The report pulls together the growing body of evidence needed to advance gender equality across the African continent and realize the commitments made by African governments to gender equality.

In South Africa, the Department of Land Affairs (DLA) has a gender policy that aims to give content to women’s land rights in practice in two major sub-programs of land reform: land redistribution and communal tenure reform.

The article reviews the constitutional negotiations around gender equality and cultural principles of gender equality, which is not without effect on social relations on the ground.

However, there is still a need for more in-depth research on the gendered nature of land demand in South Africa.

What Are Some Of The Challenges Women Face In Owning Or Inheriting Land In Kenya?

Despite the protection of women’s rights to land and property under the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 and various national statutes, women in Kenya still face challenges in owning or inheriting land.

Customary laws and practices are the main source of restriction, which continue to prohibit women from owning or inheriting land and other forms of property.

Many women in Kenya, especially in rural areas, are denied their legal rights to inheritance through traditional justice systems.

Limited access to justice and discriminatory traditional practices continue to block Kenyan women from the right and freedom of inheritance, especially land and matrimonial property.

A huge backlog of cases in Kenyan courts has also discouraged many women from seeking justice through the formal judicial system.

As of March 2019, the Environment and Lands court, which handles inheritance and land-related cases, had a total of 3,697 (five-year-old) and 18,233 (one-year-old) pending cases.

According to the Kenyan judiciary, it takes an average of two years and four months to effectively settle one such case, a length of time many women are unable to wait.

However, there have been efforts to minimize gender inequalities concerning land, housing, and property rights in Kenya.

A new wave of gender-related land reforms has swept across Africa south of the Sahara in recent years, incorporating innovative approaches to land administration, including legal provisions protecting women’s land rights.

Despite these efforts, there is still a long way to go to ensure that women in Kenya have equal access to land and property ownership.

Similar Posts