Seven in 10 Kenyan women who own property do not have a title deed, dashing hopes that constitutional reform and increased economic empowerment will grant women equal property rights as men.
This is despite the fact that one-third of Kenyan women now own a home, with five per cent owning it alone and 28 per cent owning it jointly with their spouse or partner.
"Among women who own a house (33 per cent), only nine per cent have a title deed or any other government-recognised document with their name on it," according to the findings of the KNBS Demographic and Health Survey released on Tuesday.
"However, 73 per cent do not have a title deed or any other government-recognised document."
According to experts, women's access to land and property with secure tenure is critical to economic empowerment because it serves as a source of income as well as collateral for credit.
Women and men who own and control land and other assets improve their societal access to economic resources and confer additional economic value, status, and bargaining power at the household level.
Experts say that for women in particular, asset ownership may provide protection in the event of marital dissolution or abandonment, influence their position in their homes, and reduce their vulnerability to various forms of violence or discrimination.
According to KNBS data, one-fifth of Kenyan women own agricultural land.
Only three per cent of these women own land on their own, while 20 per cent own land jointly with their spouse or partner.
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However, only seven per cent of women own nonagricultural land.
The World Bank earlier estimated that women run more than three-quarters of Kenya’s farms. But culture often takes precedence over the law, with men owning and controlling most of the land.
One of 17 ambitious global development goals adopted in 2015 aims to give women equal rights to economic resources, including access to land ownership and control.