Gender Dynamics in Home Ownership in Kampala, Uganda

Type Thesis or Dissertation - PhD Thesis
Title Gender Dynamics in Home Ownership in Kampala, Uganda
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
This study explores the different ways in which married women in Kampala, Uganda are unable to become homeowners during marriage and at widowhood. In the process, the study also explores the special mechanisms through which married women became homeowners through marriage and at widowhood. The study was premised on the assumption that gender inequality in homeownership exists and persists in Uganda in spite of urbanization, increase in information flow, education and income of women. Although married women live in a home with their husband, they do not actually own the home. As a result, women tend to be users rather than owners. Although one would expect statutory law to guarantee married women home ownership rights during marriage, this is not the case. While Uganda’s state policy states that every citizen has the right to own property, in particular houses, there is no legal framework that guarantees married women equal ownership rights of the home. The current Marriage and Divorce Acts are not clear on the benefits of the married woman in the matrimonial home during marriage and divorce. At divorce the married woman’s benefits in the matrimonial home is at the discretion of the judge who determines the percentage of a married woman’s entitlement to the matrimonial home upon proof of evidence the married woman presents. The Domestic Relations Bill that would address the unequal gender relations in homeownership and probably guarantee married women benefits in the matrimonial home has never been passed. Though a number of NGOs and civil society organizations have lobbied Parliament to pass the Domestic Relations Bill, no progress has been made. Similarly, while one would expect a widow to automatically inherit the matrimonial home upon the death of her husband, intestate law of succession guarantees the widow only user rights of the home until she dies or remarries. The matrimonial home belongs to the eldest son of the diseased. Although the Constitutional Court recently declared some of the clauses in intestate succession law unconstitutional, Parliament is yet to come up with a new succession law.

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