The new law marks a significant advancement for women’s inclusion in the nation’s real estate sector which, until now, had been male-dominated due to traditional customs.
While a 2007 law technically allowed women to inherit land, customary laws often excluded women from the decision-making process, requiring them to be represented by their husbands. New legislation now voids any customary laws that limit women’s land ownership rights. Past attempts by women to contest their land ownership rights often faced violent opposition and were suppressed by deep-rooted traditional norms.
Going forward, the law demands a mandatory 30 percent women’s representation in public and private offices. It outlines serious consequences, including fines and imprisonment, for gender-based discrimination related to land resources. The change is expected to be gradual, with men’s attitudes and mindsets believed to be slowly shifting towards acceptance of the law’s clauses.