Women, Land and Empowerment in Rwanda


Abbott, Pamela, Roger Mugisha and Roger Sapsford. 2018. “Women, Land and Empowerment in Rwanda.” Journal of International Development 30: 1006–22.

Authors: Pamela Abbott, Roger Mugisha, Roger Sapsford


Rwanda has recently registered all legal owners of land and has required spouses to be registered as co-owners of joint property; this is aimed at contributing to the empowerment of women, among many other things. A 2015 survey explored the impact of law and official practice on women’s empowerment—whether they knew their rights and whether they could claim them. The conclusion is that there has indeed been some impact. The problems of women’s subordination remain, however, given patriarchal attitudes, unequally shared decision-making and a tension between Rwanda’s espousal of the rule of law on the one hand and the principle of dialogue and consensus on the other. Moreover, the position of a substantial proportion of women in unregistered domestic partnerships has not changed.

Keywords: Land Tenure Regularisation, inheritance, women's empowerment, Rwanda, patriarchy, consensus governance


Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2018

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