This case study reviews available literature on the land tenure situation of women in Sierra Leone and analyses the impact of an FAO project in two rural villages in ensuring that women are better able to claim their customary rights to land. We argue that the intervention had a positive impact on the rights of women to access and manage lands as they have been allocated plots on their own; that through the new awareness of all community members, women seem to have increasingly been taking part in decision-making processes in regard to land, such as the allocation of a plot of family land to an individual; that the creation of Village Land Committees - with 50% female representation - acting as custodian of the lands instead of the traditional leaders, involved women in land disputes resolution and provided an additional option in-between the traditional system of chieftaincy and the shunned formal court system for women to claim their rights. We however find that the gendered division of labour within household, not only continues to keep women away from some management rights, but also diminishes their legitimate claims to the lands they access. Tasks such as clearing forest, cutting trees, planting cash crops or building a dwelling, which represent a development of the lands and make a claim to a family plot more legitimate, are still clearly reserved to men
Authors and Publishers
G. Maremera, J. Rahall, Y. Wild, I. Guy,
Resource Equity is a women-run and women-centered nonprofit organization that focuses exclusively on legal issues specific to gender equity in land and natural resources around the world.