Home Opinion Breaking Barriers: Women’s Property Ownership in Kenya

Breaking Barriers: Women’s Property Ownership in Kenya

Though women in Kenya are visible in leadership and professional roles, they still face significant hurdles in property ownership due to cultural, legal, and economic barriers.

by Sarah Wahogo

Women have made great strides in empowerment, yet property ownership remains a challenge despite legal protections, cultural, legal, and economic barriers persist, limiting women’s rights to land and property in Kenya.

According to the recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2022, only 4.5 percent of Kenyan women aged 15 to 49 years solely own a house, while 27.7 percent jointly own houses with their husbands. In contrast, 34.7 percent of men solely own their homes and 8.5 percent co-own with their wives.

Key Points

  • Cultural Norms: Patriarchal customs often prevent women from inheriting or owning property.
  • Legal Barriers: Customary laws and biased land tenure systems favor men over women.
  • Economic Barriers: Limited access to knowledge and financial resources restricts women’s property ownership.
  • Constitutional Protections: Kenyan laws support gender equality in property rights, but enforcement is weak.
  • Path Forward: Advocacy, education, and economic empowerment are crucial to overcoming these barriers.

Though women in Kenya are visible in leadership and professional roles, they still face significant hurdles in property ownership due to cultural, legal, and economic barriers. Username Properties offers Affordable land and properties for sale in Kenya on Lipa Pole Pole or as many call it, the installment approach to facilitate a flexible land ownership process in Kenya of up to 12 months.

 

  1. Cultural Norms: In many African communities, property inheritance follows patriarchal traditions. Daughters are often excluded from inheriting family property which is often reserved for sons to keep the property within the family lineage. This is entirely based on the fact that daughters will be married off to other families.
  2. Legal Barriers: Although the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 guarantees women’s right to own property, customary laws often override these protections. Marital property laws and inheritance laws frequently marginalize women, giving them smaller shares or excluding them entirely. Land tenure systems also favor men, with some sellers refusing to transact with women without male intermediaries.
  3. Economic Barriers: Many women lack awareness of their property rights and have limited access to financial resources. Without knowledge and financial power, women struggle to advocate for themselves and find it challenging to make property purchases.

Constitutional Protections for Women’s Property Ownership in Kenya

Kenya’s legal framework provides robust protections for women’s property rights:

❖    Article 27: Guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination.

❖    Article 40: Ensures the right to own property for all Kenyans.

❖    Matrimonial Property Act (2013): Mandates equal access and division of property acquired during marriage.

❖    Law of Succession Act: Provides equal inheritance rights for men and women.

Moving Forward

To enhance women’s property ownership rights in Kenya, a comprehensive approach is needed:

  • Legal Reforms: Strengthen and enforce laws protecting women’s property rights.
  • Education: Increase awareness about women’s legal rights through advocacy and educational campaigns.
  • Economic Empowerment: Improve women’s access to credit and financial services.
  • Advocacy and Social Media: Leveraging social media platforms can raise awareness, mobilize support, and push for legal reforms.
  • Online campaigns, storytelling, and community engagement can amplify women’s voices and challenge discriminatory practices.

Username Investment supports women’s economic empowerment by offering affordable land and plots for sale in Nakuru, Kenya. Our project, The Delight-Nakuru, offers prime property strategically located 20 minutes from Nakuru City. Prices are Ksh. 950,000 for Phase 1 and Phase 2.

The author is the CEO, Username Investment Ltd.

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