Why Land Rights for Women are Critical

“Why waste land on them?’ This is what the county official told my father, when he decided to divide the land equally among his eight children-his two sons and six daughters.

The new Kenya constitution had just been passed in 2010, and with it, a provision for equal rights to inherit land by men and women. The evidence for why governments should do this is clear. Studies show that land registered under both men and women is more productive because women have more of an incentive to invest in the land.  A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Kenya in 2014 shows that the legal recognition of women’s land inheritance rights has had a positive impact on women’s bargaining power in their households. In Tanzania, women with strong land rights were three times more likely to work off-farm, earned up to 3.8 times more income, and were 35% more likely to have individual savings than those that did not.

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