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Women's right to own property: analysis across the world including USA and Africa


Women's Right to Own Property

Nearly 73 years ago, in 1948, the United Nations (UN), through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) defined fundamental human rights to promote a peaceful coexistence moving forward. Women's rights thereby became fundamental human rights just like any other that men enjoyed (Cai, Murtazashvili, & Murtazashvili, 2019). These rights included the right to receive education; to own property, vote in an election; to earn fair and equal wage; and live free from slavery, violence, and discrimination. This paper focuses on women's rights to own property. Like any other gender, women have a right to own property because apart from being equal human beings, it replaces violence-backed competition with the peaceful competition.

History of women's right to own property

Women have not had the right to own property for ages. It is a battle that still goes on even though much progress has been made. Initially, women could not inherit, buy or sell the property. However, in the USA, with New York leading in revolutions, it began passing laws that gave women shreds of rights (Bose, Larson, Lastarria-Cornhiel, Radel, Schmink, Schmook, & Vázquez-García, 2017). For instance, in 1771, it gave women a right to have a say in what her husband could do with her property; that is, he had to get her consent through signature before disposing of it. Similar laws followed in other states as New York became a reference point in the legislation of such milestone laws.

Across the world, women have had limited rights to own property to date. Many governments attacked women's fundamental rights through discrimination in various ways. For instance, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia denied women equal rights to own property. In Thai, women who married non-nationals could not buy properties in their names. Moreover, the women were denied the right to inherit property from their parents in these countries. However, much progress has been made, and countries like Kenya now have it enshrined in their constitution that women can equally inherit property (Bose et al., 2017).

Importance of women's right to own property

Property rights to women guarantee their freedom; this is because many acting bodies share the production process. However, when all the resources are under man's ownership, the man will decide what to produce, how much of it, and for what price (Cai et al., 2019). Instead, when women own their property, they will use it to see fit without any dictatorship. Thus giving women the right of freedom, therefore giving women an incentive to work, save, and live.

Similarly, property rights to women give them protection from confiscation and government control. The ease at which government can confiscate any person or entity's individual property is encouraged by a weak property right system. In case of a husband's death, the property should be transferred to or ought to have been co-owned by the wife to reduce any uncertainty. Without this, the women will have no rights to own this property, thereby failing to prevent their takeover by the government or the community. In Africa, particularly Kenya, justice is hard to come by; women are disinherited when their husbands die, and the property is given to brothers-in-law (Cai et al., 2019). The women remain poor and unable to raise their children sufficiently. In as much as there is a good law to protect against this takeover, implementation is still a problem.

On top of protection against confiscation, women are protected from violence arising from forceful evictions. In India, residents rampantly face evictions without compensation or warnings. Similarly, when a woman is disinherited, her children might cause violence with the other family members. Therefore, it is important to legally protect women's ability to own property so that legal alternative channels can be exploited in case of violations of property rights.

Property rights to women increase economic prosperity and incentive to work. Traditionally, women were property, and men-owned them. Thus women stayed at home, and men carry the burden of taking care of all their needs. This setting means women were not economically productive but remained impoverished and dependent. With women joining up inability to own property rights such as land, assets like motor vehicles, trademarks, patent rights, copyrights, and trade secrets, women can trade through buying and selling theirs by contributing to the economic progress. When someone doesn't have a property right, there is no need to work. For example, why build a house when someone can occupy it without your consent? Why improve a house that is not yours when you can freely shift to another? Why till a land when your husband can claim all the produce and sell without seeking your consent and compensating you accordingly?


In the reformed era, all human beings are equal irrespective of their gender and race. With this, the women also share the same rights as men, such as to own property. A right to own property to women is essential in various ways, such as providing an incentive to work, boosting the economy, protection against confiscation, providing women's freedoms, and protecting women from the violence that might arise from forceful evictions. Generally, women have got these rights across the globe, which is insufficient in implementation, especially in African countries. Moreover, in a societal setting where all human rights are respected and granted in totality, there exists a peaceful coexistence. For instance, a right to freely abort and refugee resettlement generally increases women's well-being, dignity, and health.


A Poem Essay on women’s right to own property

Even though a right to own a property is everyone’s wish; women have survived several decades without the ability to have it. Women are told, “You are a man’s property yourself, therefore, how can you own a property?” As if that’s not enough, the decision to deny them was backed up various constitutions worldwide. Thus shutting any possibility of any legal claim.

Women are suppressed, they are told to stay at home and wait for provision from their husbands. What was not known is with women empowered to own property, men will enjoy more economic freedom. Women proved to have the synergy and will to work on men’s property such as tilling the land, even though they didn’t own them reducing their incentive to work harder. With increased incentive, women can work harder and supplement a man’s income if not doing more.

Women have suffered across the world. Some face evictions from their matrimonial property because it was not registered on their name when their spouses die. As if that is not enough, some governments have confiscated some property because the women do not have a right on them. However, for a peaceful coexistence, zero-violence society, and respect to everyone’s right like right to education, a woman’s heritable property should remain hers.

A women’s right are the funadament human rights. Women don’t ask to get what is more than they deserve. However, women have been treated like they ask for more than what men’s have. Women ask to have an equal opportunity like a man to own her house, land, and intellectual property. A society with with equal gender treatment prospers together and grow economically.




Cai, M., Murtazashvili, I., & Murtazashvili, J. B. (2019). The politics of land property rights. Forthcoming, Journal of Institutional Economics (2019).

Bose, P., Larson, A. M., Lastarria-Cornhiel, S., Radel, C., Schmink, M., Schmook, B., & Vázquez-García, V. (2017, November). Women's rights to land and communal forest tenure: A way forward for research and policy agenda in Latin America. In Women's Studies International Forum (Vol. 65, pp. 53-59). Pergamon.


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