Women's Land Rights in Uganda
Leslie Hannay · Oct 13, 2015
I. Introduction & Background
Introduction & How to Use This Guide
These country-specific guides were developed using two general guides we created in the past: Women's Land Tenure Framework for Analysis: Land Rights and Women's Land Tenure Framework for Analysis: Inheritance. These country specific guides do not seek to answer every question found in the other two guides; not all of the questions apply to every country. The general guides are intended to raise all possible issues. The country-specific guides use those guides as frameworks for understanding the main issues related to women’s land rights in a specific country context.
The country-specific guides not only serve as an example of how one can use the general frameworks for analysis, but they also analyze the women’s land rights situation in the particular country. Note that when it comes to analyzing customary law, we have selected one customary system for deeper analysis; however, this does not mean that all customary systems within this country operate the same way.
How to Use This Guide
In order to make these guides useful and user-friendly, when possible we have uploaded the full-text laws and articles that we cite to into the LandWise library.
The footnotes throughout this guide are all hyperlinked to full-text laws, articles or other citation information. When you hover over a footnote, the citation information will pop up in a bubble. When you click on the footnote, you will be taken to the full-text of the item the footnote is referencing.
Land is a fundamentally important resource in Uganda, and is the basis of income, sustenance, and identity for the majority of Ugandans. Agriculture dominates the country’s economy, and accounts for 80% of export earnings and an estimated 80% of employment nationwide. Approximately 87% of Uganda’s estimated 35 million people reside in rural areas, 85% of whom are involved in subsistence agriculture. Nationwide, 90% of all rural women work in agriculture, and women produce an estimated 80% of food crops and contribute 90% of all labor for food production.
Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda has a pluralistic legal system combining various sources of law. Pre-independence British law, Ugandan civil law, and customary law all figure into Uganda’s legal structure. Some British law is still in effect in Uganda, particularly in regard to family law. Additionally, customary law figures prominently in the day-to-day functioning of family law and land rights, with wide-ranging impacts on women.
The author would like to thank Dorcas Akello, Hilda Akabwai, and Renee Giovarelli for reviewing and providing valuable comments and insights for this practice guide.