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Social Mobilization of Women on Land Rights

Changemaker: Zanji Sinkala

Country of Implementation: Zambia

Land is a critical resource for women's participation in agriculture in Zambia. Women provide

70% of the workforce in production and processing. However, without access to land, women's

social, economic and tenure security is compromised. The FAO report, 2011 attests to the fact

that social norms discriminate against women, with customary practices restricting women's

ability to own or operate land, and if they do it is generally lesser.

Therefore, where customary laws discriminate against women, the constitution of Zambia

provides little protection and may actually lend legal support to such discrimination. (USAID, 2010).

Without knowledge of their land rights women will continue to face such discrimination.

Additionally, the 2000 National Gender Policy provides that 40 percent of state land available

for state distribution be allocated to women and the remaining 70 percent allocated fairly

between men and women. However, the policy has had little effect to date because of women's

lack of advocacy in terms of land rights due to having no knowledge about them.

Therefore, raising awareness on women's land rights and the procedures in acquiring land

through conducting awareness seminars and campaigns around Zambia mark the beginning of

a turning point for the general community's attitude towards women and rights to land as a

property. Educating women on land rights and procedures will enforce a hunger for these

women to demand what is rightfully theirs. Furthermore, we hope that engaging the Chiefs in

rural areas to act as change agents in securing women's customary land rights will be

commended and emulated by others and that the retrogressive clause Article 24(3) of the

Zambian Constitution will therefore be removed as it gives legitimacy to those who want to use

it to disadvantage and discriminate against women.


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