Life Style

The unexpected end of the person

This review summarizes relevant findings from the socio-legal analysis conducted in Ethiopia. It combines the review of key legal and policy documents and literature on existing barriers to the recognition of women’s land rights. The review analyzes existing tenure systems, identifies tenure interventions recognizing rights to women, as well as barriers constraining their ability to benefit from those rights. Most of the land in Ethiopia is under statutory tenure, landholding certification is the most important land tenure intervention recognizing land rights. Constitutional Reforms adopted since 1995 specify principles to protect women’s rights, including provisions to recognize and enforce their rights to land and resources through a land certification process which ensured women’s engagement. Since 1998, Ethiopia’s massive rural landholding certification process has certified over 20 million plots. Despite these advancements in gender-responsive policy, Ethiopian land tenure practices continue to be characterized by the marginalization and invisibilization of women.
This Article critically analyzes the law and the practice on women’s right to and control over rural land in Ethiopia. The study employed doctrinal legal research and empirical quantitative methods to collect and analyse data collected from primary and secondary sources. Tools such as law review and analysis, interviewer-assisted survey questionnaire, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were used in the process of data collection. It has been found that the existing laws adequately recognize a woman’s right to equality with respect to access to and control of property (including land) in Ethiopia. However, harmful customary practices and stereotypes against women are still prevalent in the Wolaita community, which hinders an effective implementation of the legal rights of women to possess and control land. It is suggested that legal awareness education and effective legal aid should be made available for women to empower them to claim their property rights in general and a right to rural land use and administration in particular.

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