New Internationalist

No land for Zimbabwe’s women

December 2005

Even though 86 per cent of women in Zimbabwe’s ‘communal lands’ and rural areas depend on agriculture for their livelihood, customary laws do not permit them to own land. Instead, they may farm only at the pleasure of their husbands or, in the case of single or divorced women, male relatives. Indeed, according to women’s rights groups, President Robert Mugabe believes that if women want land, they should get married.

The resettlement exercise in Zimbabwe – which seized productive farmland formerly owned by a few thousand whites – has further marginalized women, with only an estimated 12 per cent having benefited. As a consequence, Women and Land in Zimbabwe (WLZ) – a network committed to land rights for women – is actively lobbying for laws that give women equal rights and against laws allowing for discrimination.

Benhilda Chanetsa

This column was published in the December 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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  1. #1 Sunia Foliaki 27 Jun 12

    Same nonsense as in Tonga where women are not allowed to own land. And the Western countries keep saying 'oh that's an internal matter which we won't interfere with'. It's the same old protecting women by suppressing them.

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This article was originally published in issue 385

New Internationalist Magazine issue 385
Issue 385

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