Women’s gains from the implementation of succession law in Uganda

Poverty, particularly among female-headed households in Uganda, is strongly related to lack of access to and ownership of productive resources. Recent land reform necessitates inquiry to determine whether it has improved women’s marginalized status with regard to land ownership and access. In Uganda, land rights are based on birthrights traced through patrilineal descent, a tradition that is particularly observed in rural areas and also documented in the statutory. The Succession Act in particular identifies the persons eligible for inheritance and their respective entitlements.

The overall objective of this study was to document any gains for women resulting from the statutory provisions of equal inheritance rights between men and women. Female clients of the Administrator General were interviewed for insights into their experiences. The study findings would be the basis for recommendations that would enable implementing organizations to inform the ongoing reform process in Uganda. Key Informant interviews and Focus Group discussions were employed to collect data from these selected women. The study sample also included other women and men, selected to contribute data because of their occupations and their understanding of land issues.

Study findings indicate that 70 percent of the interviewed women were daughters of the deceased and were taking care of the homes visited. The study also established that 90 percent of the widows had died, while those who were still surviving were very old. The data in this study indicates that 45 percent of the women who had been granted letters of administration over property by the AG’s office, still have the land; a percentage greater than that of men in similar positions who have chosen to sell their land. Similarly 60 percent of the women beneficiaries in the two targeted districts make decisions over that land.