Women’s Land and Property Rights in Situations of Conflict and Reconstruction: A Reader Based on the February 1998 Inter-Regional Consultation in Kigali, Rwanda


United Nations Development Fund for Women. 2001. Women’s Land and Property Rights in Situations of Conflict and Reconstruction: A Reader Based on the February 1998 Inter-Regional Consultation in Kigali, Rwanda. New York: UNIFEM.

Author: United Nations Development Fund for Women


Women constitute the majority of small farmers, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, in countries around the world, they continue to be denied the right to own the ground that they cultivate and on which they raise their families. This publication presents a diversity of views and experiences that describe the multiple strategies being used in countries worldwide to secure women's rights to land and property. Nowhere is the impact of unequal land rights more acutely felt than when women find themselves obliged to fend for themselves and their families as a result of conflicts which have cost them the husbands, brothers or fathers in whose name land and property was traditionally held and passed on. On returning home to the fields they used to work and the house they used to keep, women in many countries find themselves denied access, often by their former in-laws or neighbours. Without the security of a family home or the income and produce of their fields, women and their dependants may be pushed to the margins of society, further exacerbating their struggle to achieve health and well-being for their families and themselves. Against this sombre background, the unstinting efforts of women at all levels to keep families functioning in adversity, maintain community dialogue and sustain the fabric of social development, go largely unsung. Against all the odds, women continue to organise to address their livelihood and empowerment needs, and increasingly to champion their rights. They want a place at the peace table. And they are lobbying for new legislation that can enable them to acquire land, property and credit facilities with which to restart their lives. Above all, they recognise that conflict, with its attendant trauma and displacement, has also honed their existing skills and taught them new ones. As returnees from refugee situations - or something like that, they are not prepared to revert to the status quo ante but wish to capitalise on the changes brought about in adversity. 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2001

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