The Role of Good Governance in Improving Women’s Access Right to Land

18 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2010

See all articles by Rita Esinu Sewornu

Rita Esinu Sewornu

Technische Universität München (TUM)

Date Written: August 30, 2010


In Ghana like elsewhere within the sub-Sahara Africa region, many people asserts right to land through customary mechanisms. There is however grave gender inequalities with regard to land access and security of tenure thereof within the customary land sectors Women’s weak access rights to customary lands in Ghana are due largely to local custom and practices. These customs and practices emanated from traditional ideologies such as priority of continuation of lineages and the fear of losing lineage land to other lineages upon the marriage. In recent times the gap has been further widened and entrenched by weak land governance such as male predominance in leadership and decision-making, break down of the trusteeship ethos resulting in unaccountability and lack of transparency.

Even though the country’s Constitution and other statutory provisions guaranteed equal rights to land for both men and women, their effectiveness in protecting women’s land right has been elusive in practice. Customary institutions and processes regulating access to land appear stronger than the state laws. The study thus concludes that the causes of women’s weak access rights to land within the customary sector are a complex challenge deeply rooted in the socio-cultural, economic and political systems.

To ensure and sustain women’s equal access right to land therefore calls for a holistic approach from different perspectives. The paper in an agreement with current international developments in land management argues that the incorporation of good governance principles into customary land sector is key to improving women’s access right to land within the sector. It also emphasized the importance of women’s empowerment and creating of enabling environment of a working customary land tenure and land administration system.

Keywords: customary land sector, good governance, land access, women and Ghana

Suggested Citation

Sewornu, Rita Esinu, The Role of Good Governance in Improving Women’s Access Right to Land (August 30, 2010). OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 1, No. 5, pp. 37-53, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Rita Esinu Sewornu (Contact Author)

Technische Universität München (TUM) ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munich, DE 80333

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