Land is considered the most fundamental resource to women’s living conditions, economic empowerment and, to some extent, their struggle for equity and equality.
More than 60% percent of women in indigenous communities are dependent on land for their livelihoods.
Despite the importance of land to women in these communities , their land rights are still largely discriminated against. A combination of statutory and customary laws favoring male ownership of property disadvantage women’s rights to own land.
The most detrimental global human rights violation experienced in many developing countries is the traditional exclusion of women from property and land ownership on the basis of gender. Women’s financial and physical security are at risk without land rights.
Women’s equality and land rights are violated if their rights to land are not respected. Most women in the pastoralist regions have access to land only through their husbands or fathers as they are only granted usufructuary rights as
land title pass through the male line.
It must be noted however that this characteristic is typical of customary land tenure system, which is existent and is the dominant land tenure system in many indigenous communities.
The phenomenon of limited women’s access to land is further compounded by natural disasters like the current drought, which affects women and men differently. The prevalence, impact and effects of drought are higher on women and children in particular.
Women for instance, often do not have the right to inherit their late husband’s/father’s land, and are thus condemned to poverty and dependency.
Yet access and ownership of land is fundamental to basic livelihood sustenance implying that discrimination of women from owning this basic good is violation of women’s human rights.
Limited rights of women to land is of primary concern in Kenya since justice in development requires that women’s
right to land ownership be treated as a priority Human Right.