“There is a direct relationship between women’s right to land, economic empowerment, food security and poverty reduction” (Sida, 2015). Women make great contributions to the economy they are adversely affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation. Gender discrimination bars women to access of economic assets such as land, loans etc.
Land is a major factor of production and an important source of security against poverty across the developing world (Eileen Alma, 2011). Land rights cut across the ability to own, access, control, transfer, and inherit and making decisions related to land.
Barriers to these rights hover around inadequate legal standard and ineffective implementation of legal standards. Conflict between constitutional and international provisions are also a challenge. Discriminating cultural practices deny women their rights i.e. wife inheritance. Inheritance of land among women is still a debatable topic in some Kenyan communities.
The ability to access and acquire land has led to imbalance of economic contribution by women and men. Women in most cases provide labor on land and are excluded in decision-making on matters relating to the land they work on.
This sort gender discrimination in economic activities on land pushes women to low wage jobs consequently subjecting them to poverty. No poverty is one of the sustainable goals. Securing land right allow women to access credits and acquire money to invest .Having a viable economic activity allows this group to improve their living standards .It also raises their social status.
Women contribute majorly in the production and distribution of food in Africa by providing agricultural labor. Recognizing their land rights would greatly improve food production. This is direct input towards zero hunger. Secure tenure attracts credit worthiness and agricultural investments which promote food production.
Land rights are fundamental to achieving human rights. Advocacy for secure land rights among women is critical towards the latter. Gender based discrimination and stereotype should be dealt with to achieve the gender equality. This will ensure women have equal chances on the land rights.
The ability for women to have access to land as a resource at least provides them with a decent work and earn a living .Through secure land rights women manage to do economic activities on this recourse be it farming ,fishing ,lumbering etc. This is a source of economic empowerment hence women become less dependent on men.
What can we do?
This atrocities against women can be dealt with through implementation of our land laws. We have laws in our country in favor of women but their implementation has become a problem. Creating awareness will greatly impact women and their understanding of the rights. Effectiveness of laws is well on awareness. Most land issues end up in court where its intimidating for women who might not have understanding of their rights. Land institutions can train paralegals ( http://kituochasheria.or.ke)to solve disputes at community level. Promoting an efficient land administration and governance will greatly promote security of tenure among women.
Implementation of innovative land tools also has proved to secure rights for women and youth. Land administration tools like the social tenure domain model which is pro-poor, participatory and affordable for representing land rights. This tool allows for the registration of women’s share in rights if the land is owned by both husband and wife.