Justice and Power in the Adjudication of Women’s Property Rights in Uganda


Khadiagala, Lynn S. 2003. “Justice and Power in the Adjudication of Women’s Property Rights in Uganda.” Africa Today 49 (2): 101-121.

Author: Lynn S. Khadiagala


This article challenges the notion that women who derive their primary rights from land are unable to use the legal system to assert or protect their property rights. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in southern Uganda, I suggest that female legal consciousness and legal strategies cannot be sufficiently explained by a paradigm of male hegemony and female dependence. Instead, women in Kabale District construct land claims around an ethos of justice entailing a quid pro quo between rights and responsibilities. Drawing on the value of their agricultural labor to the household economy, reinforced by the labor intensity of farming in Kabale, women transform property disputes into claims to the basic elements of citizenship, including membership, participation, and universal norms of justice.

Keywords: women's land rights, legal system, Gender

Topics: Citizenship, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Justice, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2003

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