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Universitetet i Tromsø (2011)

Women and land rights in rural Ethiopia : the case of Wolaita

Qoricho, Yonas Tafesse

Titre : Women and land rights in rural Ethiopia : the case of Wolaita

Auteur : Qoricho, Yonas Tafesse

Université de soutenance : Universitetet i Tromsø

Grade : Master thesis ; Mastergradsoppgave 2011

This thesis dealt with the land rights of women in rural areas of Wolaita Zone, southwestern Ethiopia by taking the case of rural women in Soddo Zuria District. Three questions were thus posed : How do the current modern rural land law and the Wolaita traditional/customary law ascertain the land rights of rural women in SZD ? What kind of land rights do rural women enjoy in practice in SZD ? What challenges are faced while implementing the land rights of rural women in the district ? In order to answer these questions, data was collected from oral and written sources. The qualitative data analysis informs that the Wolaita traditional/customary law has allowed land access to rural women only through marriage until 2005. After the adoption of the 2007 Rural Land Administration and Use Proclamation by the SNNPR (based on the 1995 FDRE’s Constitution and FRLAUP 2005), the land use rights of women is legally acknowledged in SZD. In practice, married women in monogamous and polygamous marriages are awarded joint landholding certificates together with their husbands. Moreover, women household heads are given landholding certificates independently. However, the participation of women’s organizations in the land registration and certification program and their representation in LACs is completely lacking in SZD. In order to improve the legally recognized women’s rights and their property rights (including land), the thesis recommends that women and men as well as traditional leaders need to be thoroughly exposed to the legal documents through consciousness-raising campaigns. Women also need to get free legal services from state institutions. In addition, the regional government needs to commit itself to promote and institutionalize women’s rights through awareness-raising and sensitization of the judiciary, district courts, district land administration experts, village administration heads, and LACs.


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