What does it take to "land" equality for women in Rwanda?
Land right laws changed for women in Rwanda 16 years ago but it's still not easy.
Excuse the pun. I’m not talking about fishing. I'm talking about land rights for women in Rwanda. Owning land can lead to economic empowerment for women, but it’s trickier than that in Rwanda.
Women in Rwanda have a very interesting past when it comes to owning land.
Genocide in Rwanda in 1994 targeted men, leaving women in charge of many small farms and families. Before 1999 women were not allowed to own land because because land rights were traditionally passed down to men and there was hardly any documented record of land rights.
But even with the ownership women now have over land in Rwanda, cultural norms of men contrlling households and thus land make the reality for women owning land a challenge. Check out 0:48 to learn how many women do not even know about their right to own land! Land rights are behind the biggest disputes going on in the country.This is compounded by the fact that one of the biggest challenges female landowners face happens during divorce.
From fearing eviction from a small farm to being able to send children to school, a woman and her husband talk about how they worked together to solve problems over land rights and saved their farm and livelihoods.
In this video you can see the difference mediation groups set up in Rwanda make in improving the lives of women.