Rwanda LAND Study: The Gendered Nature of Land and Property Rights in Post-Reform Rwanda

Rwanda has provided a picture of promising change for improving gender equalities in land rights. This report draws upon extensive qualitative field research in 20 sectors of Rwanda to examine the current state of gendered rights to land in practice. Among Rwandan communities, there is now widespread knowledge of laws granting gender-equal rights. More and more women are receiving inheritance and inter-vivos gifts and are increasingly receiving these in equal shares, while formally married women are exercising greater decision-making power over land held jointly with their husbands. Nevertheless, women in Rwanda still experience several challenges in accessing land and controlling the land that they do have access to. Women continue to lack the necessary bargaining power to claim inheritance and parental gifts of land and to exercise decision-making over land on par with men. Access to unbiased forums for resolving land disputes continues to be a challenge for many women, often dissuading them from claiming their rights. The report concludes with a series of recommendations on how to address remaining gaps and improve women’s rights to land, recommendations that not only extend to policy and law, but also to programs and other investments designed to foster gender justice in Rwanda.

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