The Assessment of Women’s Land Rights in The Dormaa Traditional Area, Ghana
Women’s lands rights are universal human rights and important to global food security and sustainable
development. Ghana has ratified international treaties to protect women’s lands rights and has made laws and policies to deal
with these issues. In parallel with this institutional effort, Ghana’s customary land laws have governed land rights issues.
Customary lands are held in trust by traditional authorities, who supposedly guarantee women to have equal rights to land as
mendo. However, in reality men appear to have more farmland and favored positions in gaining land ownership. Women
generally appear to depend on their husbands for land access and may lose farmland in the event of husband’s death. This
paper seeks to find if these perceptions are true. In doing so, it seeks to better understand how women’s rights to farmland
are affected by social status, tenure, and accessibility in the Dormaa Traditional area, one of Ghana’s regions with strong
traditional land tenure customs. Based on the fieldwork and the survey among 311 farmers in the area, this paper identified
Dormaa people’s perceptions about customary land use and ownership practices. We found that most respondents perceived
land tenure and accessibility not biased. However, women felt that they needed men for securing customary ownership to
land. After discussing these in details, this paper offers some recommendations on how women’s access to land can be
improved in the future.
Keywords- Ghana’s Land Tenure, Land Rights, Women’s Land Right