Campaigners during the International Day of Rural Women which held recently in Kenya, have said a new legislation should be enacted to eliminate institutional and cultural barriers that have denied rural women access to arable land.

Naomi Lanoi, a gender rights campaigner with Kenya Land Alliance, said expanding access to land among rural women is key to tackling abject poverty and food insecurity in the country.

“Rural women are intimately linked to land and their exclusion from access and ownership of this resource will negatively affect the production of staple food in the country,” said Lanoi in a commentary published by Sunday Nation.

Kenyan campaigners marked the day of rural women with a call for enactment of global and domestic legal instruments that root for gender equality in land ownership.

Lanoi regretted that despite the enactment of affirmative action policies and laws, Kenya is yet to bridge a glaring disparity in land ownership between men and women.

“In Kenya where the foundation of most communities is agriculture and livestock production, women contribute up to 80 percent of the workforce and yet they hold 1 percent of registered land in their names while 5 to 6 percent of registered titles are held in joint names,” Lanoi observed.

Kenyan campaigners in October 2016 joined their counterparts from sub-Saharan African region to endorse a communique that sought to promote land rights for rural women.

Lanoi noted that targeted policy and legal interventions that seek to promote access to land among Kenyan rural women have started bearing fruits thanks to political goodwill and robust advocacy.

“Women’s land rights is a prerequisite to fulfilling the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty and hunger, achieve food security and empower all women and girls,” said Lanoi.

She lauded the enactment of Community Land Act of 2016 saying it paved way for securing land tenure for women in marginalized counties.

At the same time, Lanoi said that the ongoing issuance of title deeds in the historically marginalized regions will improve the economic status of rural women.

Source: coast week

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