Climate change adaptation and women’s land rights in Uganda and Kenya: Creating legal pathways for building the resilience of women
Climate change poses a considerable threat for women in developing countries due to their unique vulnerabilities. In East Africa, women largely depend on land for their livelihood. They are responsible for generative tasks, among others, food and energy supply for their households and are involved in 70 % of agricultural production and labour, yet they have limited land rights. Whereas the law at international, regional (Africa), Sub regional (East African) and national levels guarantees women’s right to land ownership, women still have limited access, use, control and ownership of land. This is mainly due to the deep rooted patriarchal society and cultural practices and beliefs. As a result, women are unable to use the land to invest in lasting adaptation measures. This paper analyses the connection between land rights of women and climate change adaptation in Uganda and Kenya and how existing law and policy respond to the normative gaps and practices in respect to land rights of women. The paper examines the legal provisions on women’s rights to land at the international, regional, sub-regional and national levels to identify state compliance with the legal provisions in respect to women’s land rights. The paper argues that whereas the law guarantees women’s land rights, there has been a problem of implementation due to cultural barriers and stereotypes. This article is primarily a desk study where descriptive and analytical methods are used. The doctrinal research approach is employed, where a review of the legal framework on the land rights of women at international, regional, sub regional and national levels is done. Secondary data on women’s land rights and their role in enhancing women’s adaptive capacity and resilience is reviewed. The article reveals that ensuring women’s land rights is key in enhancing their adaptive capacity, hence strengthening their resilience.
Key Words: Climate change, adaptation, Women, land rights, East Africa, Resilience, Patriarchy, agriculture