Patterns of Women's Property Ownership and Inheritance Rights in Kisii County, Kenya.
Mogute, Mary Moraa
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Women's rights have been the global agenda for the last few decades. Despite this, women are still disadvantaged. This study endevoured to investigate the patterns of women's property rights among the Kisii people of Nyanza region, Kenya. The objectives of this study were to identify the various types of property, establish who had rights to access, control and inherit property, investigate the determinants of women's property ownership and inheritance rights and generate suitable strategies that. could be adopted to enhance women's property rights. This study was informed by the conflict and the social role theory. The research design adopted for this study was descriptive survey which triangulated quantitative and qualitative techniques. Interviews schedules were utilized to obtain primary data from 408 household heads, in-depth interview guides were used to collect data from thirty key informants while focus group discussion guides were utilized in facilitating collection of qualitative data from groups. Four focus group discussions were conducted in the two sampled divisions. Obtained data was processed and analyzed with the help of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The finding of the study revealed that land, houses and livestock were common properties owned and men were found to dominate ownership of these properties. While land was majorly inherited as reported by 94.6% of the respondents, livestock was purchased and houses build. Male and female genders accessed family land and houses as demonstrated by chi-square outputs of2.75 and a p-value of 0.25 and10.55 and a p-value of 0.007 respectively. However, access to cattle was influenced by gender as demonstrated by a chi-square of 10.55 and p-value of 0.005. The study revealed a relationship between control of land (chi-square 17.59 and a p-value of 0.001), livestock (a chi-square of 12.83 and a p-value of 0.002) and houses (a chi-square of 19.36 and a p-value of 0.001) with gender. There was a relationship between property ownership and gender as shown by a chi-square output of 90.909 and a p-value of 0.001, 81.124 and a p-value of 0.001 and 81.227 and p-value of 0.002 for residential houses, agricultural land and cattle respectively. Inheritance of land was also found to have a relationship with gender as depicted by a chi-square of 12.402 and a p-value of 0.002.Factor analysis generated ten items and only four items with eigenvalues of 2:.1.0and factor loadings of 2:.4 were acceptable while the other six were discarded because theywere insignificant in influencing women's property ownership and inheritance rights. These factors were; cultural beliefs and practices with a variance of 14.593%, socio-economic factors with a variance of 13.398%, patriarchy with a variance of 11.865% and legal awareness and land scarcity with a variance of 10.502%. These factors explained a total variance of 50.358%. Implying they were significant in influencing women's property ownership and inheritance. Analyzed data also revealed that there was need to enhance women's rights to property as reported by 76.1% of the respondents. Policy recommendations were: to sensitize and empower the community on statutory and legal provisions related to women's property rights, to appropriately implement existing laws that promote women's rights to property, to use of gender sensitive school curriculum to help change the orientation of people on gender equality, government to establish programs to empower women economically, socially and politically. Research recommendations were; to conduct research with a wider scope beyond Kisii County and assess the impact of constitutional provisions in promoting women's property rights among the Kisii people.