While women’s rights to property are protected under the constitution, a majority of them are still disadvantaged and discriminated, especially when it comes to land rights, an audit has shown.
A Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) review of the millions of title deeds issued by the Jubilee government between 2013-2017 has revealed glaring disparities in the actual land sizes titled for men and women.
The advocacy group disaggregated and analysed over a million titles out of the 3.3 million issued by the government that period.
From the audit, women only got 103,043 titles representing 10.3 per cent, while men got 865,095 titles accounting for 86.5 per cent.
It further shows that out of the 10.1 million hectares of land titled, women got 163,253 hectares representing a partly 1.62 per cent while men got 9.9 million hectares representing 97.7 per cent.
The data was analysed from 47 land registries across the country.
“Kenya still has a long way to go in the journey to securing women’s land tenure rights.
"Their exclusion from access, ownership and control of land does not only affect Kenya’s staple food production but also poverty eradication,” KLA chief executive Odenda Lumumba said during the release of the findings in Nairobi on Thursday.
A land title deed remains the major form of security required when seeking credit and women’s property rights violation has had a negative impact on their socio-economic status.
Mr Lumumba said it is high time the government confronted the deep inequalities in land and property through effective implementation of constitutional provisions to secure women land rights.
Land has been one of the most contentious issues in Kenya and generally, women have for many years been denied an opportunity to inherit land.
“Kenya will attain little or no meaningful development as long as title deeds remain a preserve of men. Women should be given equal opportunities in acquiring the documents.
"The government can reverse this trend in the next few years and ensure gender equality is issuance of titles,” Mr Lumumba said.
Apart from the Embu land registry where the 122 beneficiaries got one title deed each, individuals and institutions in the rest of the registries got more.
In Machakos where there were 57,171 beneficiaries, the highest number held by an individual or an institution is 1,513 title deeds.
National Land Commission Muhammad Swazuri said despite the latest statistics, Kenya still ranks highly in land ownership by women.
Mr Swazuri acknowledged that despite the enormous contribution by women in the agriculture sector and the national GDP, most of them still own little land.
“We have ensured that in the settlement schemes, men and women get equal opportunities in acquisition of land. However in adjudicated areas, we still have a problem.”