President Mokgweetsi Masisi has passed long-overdue law that will allow married women to own land.
Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has reportedly passed a law that will allow married women to be eligible to own land independent of their husbands. The new law is an amendment to Botswana's Land Policy of 2015 which prevented married women, widows and orphans from inheriting land or acquiring new land entirely.
President Masisi shared the news on Twitter and started off by saying that he was fulfilling the commitment he made during Botswana's Democratic Party campaigns last year.
This clause did not give married women equal treatment with men and I am happy to report that this discriminatory s… https://t.co/haqvNvrMHs— Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi (@Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi)1600325944.0
Historically, land that belonged to husbands followed patriarchal traditions of inheritance. Reuters reports that Tshegofatso Mokibelo, a widowed financial analyst, was rejected for a residential plot because her late husband owned land and his family had claimed it.
The new law is welcomed by her and many other women as it acknowledges women's rights independent of their marital status. Patriarchy historically sees women as possessions of men and therefore doesn't allow them ownership independent of men. These outdated societal norms are still prevalent in 2020.
Botswana Twitter responded with mixed reactions to the news, most users asked Masisi to prioritise the youth when it comes to land ownership.
@OfficialMasisi Mr. President, do you not think you could prioritize allocating land to young people since we will… https://t.co/XnjApaQHAm— Shaz🦋 (@Shaz🦋)1600352719.0
@OfficialMasisi Long overdue. Down with discrimination against women and girls! ✊🏾— Zuzeeko (@Zuzeeko)1600416273.0
Only about 15 percent of global farmlands are owned by women even though they contribute more than 51 percent to agriculture. Botswana's revised Land Policy now allows equal eligibility to own a residential plot on both state and tribal land. According to Botswana's land audits reports, more than half of the people awaiting to have land allocated to them are women.
In 2015, the African Union addressed gender inequality as it pertains to land rights and stipulated that women should be allocated 30 percent of land across Africa. However, even this meagre percentage has yet to be achieved. Zambia, Ethiopia and Uganda are a few of many African countries where land rights are still not afforded to married women.