Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?

    1. Study Information

      This section discusses the 2014 paper by Stein Terje Holden and Sosina Bezu, “Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?”.1

      Gender-disaggregated household panel data and indices for wives’ and husbands’ land rights attitudes and for wives’ involvement in land related decisions (600 households).

    2. Questions posed
      • Does joint land certification strengthen wives’ awareness of their land rights?
      • Do wives’ attitudes towards women's land rights and husbands’ preferences for the traditional weak position of women affect wives’ intra-household bargaining power in land-related decisions?
      • Does certification in the community have an additional effect on the empowerment of wives related to family land?
    3. Description of intervention

      Community based land certification and registration. In two regions in Southern Ethiopia (Oromio and SNNP), joint land certificates for husbands and wives were issued starting in 2005.

    4. Context of findings

      The study covers very diverse farming systems and different ethnic groups in Ethiopia, indicating that the findings are applicable to diverse socio-economic conditions. The findings may therefore be generalizable to other areas in Ethiopia and perhaps other parts of Africa.

      This is a follow-up study to one done in 2007, which found that the 2005 reform had a small impact on women’s ability to influence farm management.2, 3

    5. Key findings

      By 2012, women had become more involved in farm management decisions, in particular, in crop choice decisions, and in land rental decisions.

      The wives’ index for participation in land-related decisions increases with the share of households in the community having land certificates and is positively correlated with attendance in land reform meetings.

      There is evidence that awareness, intra-household bargaining, and social process contributed to empowerment of wives in relation to land.

      Note: The relatively large change in involvement of wives in land-related decisions seems to be a combined effect of joint certification and registration, participation in related information meetings, and changes in awareness and preferences of husbands and wives.

    6. Unanswered questions
      • What level of engagement was required for women to perceive they understood their rights and how to document and implement them?
      • What activities supported changes in awareness and preferences of husbands and wives? Did this vary by ethnic group, farming systems, or socio-economic conditions?
    NOTES
    1. Holden, S.T, and Bezu, S. “Joint Land Certification, Gendered Preferences, and Land-related Decisions: Are Wives Getting More Involved?” Centre for Land Tenure Studies/School of Economics and Business Norwegian University of Life Sciences, AS, Norway (October, 2014).

    2. Holden, S. and Tefera, T., "From Being Property of Men to Becoming Equal Owners? Early Impacts of Land Regulation and Certification of Women in Southern Ethiopia," FINAL RESEARCH REPORT (UN-HABITAT and GLTN, January 2008).

    3. Holden, S. and Tefera, T., "Land Registration in Ethiopia: Early Impacts on Women," UN-HABITAT REPORT (October 2008).