Women, Marriage and Asset Inheritance in Uganda

Full citation: Doss, C., Truong, M., Nabanoga, G. and Namaalwa, J., “Women, Marriage and Asset Inheritance in Uganda,” 184 CPRC WORKING PAPER (Chronic Poverty Research Centre 2010). – The study uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative research. The first phase involved interviewing focus groups and key informants about assets held by men and women in the communities and on patterns of acquisition and social norms surrounding asset ownership and inheritance. The second phase was a household and intra-household survey. Life-history interviews were also conducted. The study found that many women gain access to land or ownership through their marital relationships. Both husbands and wives often indicate that land is owned jointly. However, rights over land differ for men and women, with women having fewer rights than men. Women do inherit land, both from their fathers and from their husbands, although it is much more common for men to inherit land. While women may successfully access land through their husbands, and may even claim ownership, these rights frequently depend on the stability of the marriage. Under most customary systems, a widow can claim land that belonged to her husband only if she has a son. The land will be inherited by the son, and the mother can continue to farm it until the son is grown-up and can claim it. Women without sons are at risk of losing access to the land, depending on their relationships with their husband’s family and the community. In spite of this arrangement, some widows have been able to maintain independent claims on land. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions – Annotated Bibliography]

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