Women’s security of tenure has been left at the mercy of our clans, brothers, fathers, uncles, inlaws. Generation after generation, culture, tradition and customs have been blamed for this plight on women. Women continue to live in poverty not because they cannot produce enough but because they do not control what they produce. They cannot afford better health and education for their children not because they do not have the capacity to deliver this, but because they do not control the proceeds of their labour and make decisions on the fields to enhance on household development.
Women have kept at the back of the debates on land not because they do not know what to say, but because they will not let them say what they need to say. Women are threatened with divorce, death and violence- a threat that is so engrained in their minds and lives that they can only own land through their husbands, sons and brothers. Despite the many international treaties and the constitutional provisions on equality between men and women, security of tenure for women in Uganda has remained elusive.
The Women’s Land Rights Movement was thus born on the 2nd June 2010 with Three Government Ministries, the Judiciary, and 13 civil society organizations working around women’s issues in Uganda. The momentum has been building up since with more and more interest from within and without Uganda. The first and major activity of the Movement was the Women Land Rights Conference that took place in December 2010. This conference was a necessity and timely because it was the first time grassroots women and the elite women came together to raise their voices for a common cause.
The very first Women Land Rights Conference drew 300 participants from 10 districts, blending Government, civil society, academia and the communities. The Conference aimed at influencing and mainstreaming gender into the National Land Policy through the sharing of research, practice and community perspective. An agenda for action was set and a declaration made. One of the major achievements of this inaugural Women’s Land Rights Conference was that it was able to influence the formulation of the Uganda National Land Policy, 2013 that is gender sensitive.
MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN’S LAND RIGHTS MOVEMENT
- LANDnet Uganda
- Food Rights Alliance (FRA)
- Women & Girl Child Development Association (WEGCDA)
- Uganda Community Based Association for Women and Children Welfare
- Coalition of Pastoralist Civil Society Organisations (COPACSO)