From Male to Joint Land Ownership: Women's Experiences of the Land Tenure Reform Programme in Rwanda

Citation:

Bayisenge, Jeannette. 2018. "From Male to Joint Land Ownership: Women's Experiences of the Land Tenure Reform Programme in Rwanda." Journal of Agrarian Change 18 (3): 588-605.

Author: Jeannette Bayisenge

Abstract:

During the post‐genocide period, the Government of Rwanda embarked on a land tenure reform programme that culminated in a land registration and titling process in 2009. This paper intends to capture women's experiences in relation to this programme. The empirical data were collected in Musanze District using a household survey, semi‐structured interviews, and focus group discussions. The main findings reveal that there is support of the general idea that women should benefit from the land tenure reform in Rwanda. However, there is some criticism towards parts of the land laws, and women have limited actual knowledge about land‐related laws. With land titles, women mostly have a say on the land use decisions requiring each of the spounses' legal consents but not on the daily management of land and its produce. Finally, the paper reports the persistence of social norms and culturally biased gender ideologies affecting the effective implementation of land‐related laws and policies. Therefore, the paper underscores the need to build the implementation of new laws and policies on a good understanding of customary practices to strengthen women's land rights in Rwanda.

Keywords: land rights, land tenure reform, Rwanda, women's experiences

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2018

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