Effects of Land Policies on Women Land Management Practices in Embu County, Kenya
Women account for fifty percent of the national population but face substantial challenges in accessing and controlling land resources in Kenya. Despite land reform efforts by the Government of Kenya and empowering women in society, there are various factors that limit land ownership and management among women in the country. This is reflected by the enactment of new legal provisions that increase opportunities for women, which are compromised by the persistence of customary laws across Kenyan communities. Additionally, development in land ownership and management among women is limited by the low levels of legal literacy that limit their efforts in addressing land-related issues. This research intended to propose a study that investigated the efficiency of land policies on land ownership and management among women in Embu County, Kenya. The specific research objectives were to determine how land policies, affect women's land management in Ruguru-Ngandori Ward; establish how legal literacy affects women's land management in Ruguru-Ngandori Ward; find out the influence of local customs on women land management in Ruguru-Ngandori Ward. The research involved a research population of 17,404 people, but a sample population of 100 respondents was determined to be appropriate for the study. The findings of this research contributed to the existing knowledge and increased efficiency in policy formulation and inclusion of women in social-economic development. The research employed a descriptive case study that involved both qualitative and quantitative research to investigate participants in Ruguru -Ngandori ward. Stratified sampling was employed to identify the primary respondents and ethical considerations were made to ensure credibility and reliability of the research process. Based on analysis that focused on Mann Whitney U test for comparison of means, the results indicated that education was a major component that defined women‟s ability to own land. The results showed that there was significant relationship between land ownership by women and key parameters like education, access to information regarding land polices and land rights, and the presence of government and non-government support regarding issue of land ownership. However, a focused study on the effects of policy and culture showed that the two factors have a positive influence on women's land ownership. The general conclusion on the results was that both culture and policy have had a positive influence on land ownership among women in Embu. However, education and legal literacy have been proven to have a different impact on land ownership whereby the significant difference in mean confirms that legal literacy had a major influence on women‟s ability to own land. The research findings show that the government should be proactive in adopting appropriate measures that guarantee respect for human rights in the context of land ownership. The National land commission should include a gender-sensitive committee composed of equal numbers of women and men whose task will be to specifically deal with issues on women‟s land ownership disputes. Also, improvements in the education system, the role of NGOs, and the elimination of detrimental local customs can support the implementation of appropriate land policies.