Articles - Women's Land and Property Rights in Kenya

Women's Land and Property Rights in Kenya- Moving Forward into a New Era of Equality: A Human Rights Report and Proposed LegislationFederation of Women Lawyers: Kenya (FIDA-Kenya)

     This human rights report and companion legislation was originally authored by Jennifer Smith, Cassandre Theano, Lauren Torbett, and Jennifer Toussaint, Spring 2008 student advocates with the International Women's Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law. It was supervised and edited by then, Attorney-Fellow Tzili Mor, under Clinic Director, Susan Deller Ross. The report was produced in conjunction with the Federation of Women Lawyers: Kenya (FIDA-Kenya).
     The lack of equal rights to own property has severe consequences for the women of Kenya, including increasing the risks of poverty, violence and homelessness. Kenyan women face significant obstacles to gaining and maintaining title to property as well as to enforcing their rights regarding property they own. This article summarizes current property law in Kenya, detailing de jure and de facto institutions that deny women equal rights. In so doing, they violate international human rights commitments Kenya has freely adopted. The article also proposes draft legislation, "The Land Equality Act, 2009″ which, if passed by the Kenyan Parliament, would make significant strides toward granting women equal rights to property under Kenyan law and would in no way violate the Constitution. Finally, such legislation would bring Kenya into compliance with its human rights obligations.

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