Some steps for securing access to land for women

Hi all!

I am seeking for ideas on how to improve women’s customary land and property rights in a District of Ghana. What is happening in the community (customarily) is that boys inherit directly from their fathers and girls inherit directly from their mothers.

The challenge is that, as most mothers are poor and disempowered property wise. The girls basically inherit poverty and disempowerment. What innovative solutions can be used to help improve women’s situation there? Your tips would be helpful


It will be interesting to fully understand the different means of land rights acquisition in the District. It is equally important to know if this is a patrilineal or matrilineal society, with that you will have a clue on how land rights are passed down to the young generation and where the abuse is stemming from.

In general, family land is that which is customarily owned by a family/household and over which the children acquire land rights, the process of land rights transfer is where the problem normally lies. You can only identify where the abuse lies once you have fully understood the process. Over which other pool of land other than family land do mothers and fathers a sign land rights in parallel like you mentioned?

Studies have shown that land rights are acquired by; 1) Allocation of land as an inheritance to husband and wife upon marriage; 2) clearing virgin land and 3) purchasing land or being given land as a gift. The most predominant means of land rights acquisition is through inheritance from father or mother like you mention above, in most cases the land inherited by the boy or girl would be for them and their family. In that case the inheritor only acts as custodian (which is where the problem lies since most have abused that responsibility and acted in a greedy manner) on behalf of the whole family (husband, wife and children who jointly own the land customarily) - you need to clarify if the land is inherited to become the boy’s private property or to be jointly owned customarily.

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Thanks David for your feedback. The case study location for this work is of matrilineal custom. The boys inherit the in whatever form it is from their father’s side while the girls inherit from their mother. I was wondering, does it make a difference in this case if boys inherit land “to be jointly owned customarily”?