Full citation: Holden, S. and Tefera, T., "From Being Property of Men to Becoming Equal Owners? Early Impacts of Land Regulation and Certification of Women in Southern Ethiopia," FINAL RESEARCH REPORT (UN-HABITAT and GLTN, January 2008). - Land certification has been implemented in Ethiopia since 1998 and over 5 million certificates have been delivered. This study in the Oromiya region (OR) and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia, aims to assess the early impacts of land registration and certification that has been implemented there since 2004. Special emphasis is placed on the impacts of the reform on women, including the impacts of joint certification for husbands and wives. While the land laws first introduced in the Oromiya and SNNP regions in 2002 and 2003 stated that the husband could have his name on only one certificate, resistance caused a change such that certificates could be issued jointly to the husband and his wives, or the husband’s name could also be included below the name of his second and later wives, while he has his name first on the certificate with his first wife.
The study finds that low-cost land reform in Southern Ethiopia has contributed to increase the perceptions of tenure security for both women and men. The women’s names on the land certificates increased the perception that the women would be able to keep the land after the divorce or death of their husband, with some differences among wives in polygamous households. The reform had limited impact on women’s ability to influence farm management, perhaps because of the prevalence of sharecropping. The study recommends that information dissemination, mobilisation and organisation of women’s group. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]