Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Women and Access to Resources in Ethiopia

Temesgen Gebeyehu Baye


In Gojjam, and the northwest region of Ethiopia, the rist land tenure system was the dominant tenure system until the 1974 Ethiopian revolution. Under that system, land was held by kin-groups, and men and women had equal rights to land. But because women’s access to land was mainly through a male relative, usually a father or husband, their ownership rights were often limited. Consequently, women are disproportionately impoverished as they were more likely than men to be poor because of discrimination in education, employment, and access to resources. Poverty implications are widespread for rural women, leaving many without necessary access to land. Until recently, the issue of women’s right to land, resources, and housing was hardly recognized as an important development issue. Consequently, there is a gap in knowledge about the poverty conditions of rural women. This article focuses on the impact of women’s right to land on political, social and gender relations in Ethiopia, in general, and Gojjam, in particular. It draws from a larger study on the impact and flexibility of traditional land tenure systems on gender issues. It draws from a range of sources comprising of oral testimonies, archival materials, published and unpublished sources.


Women; Gender; Access; Rist; Land; Rights; Resources

Full Text:


JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

Published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. All inquiries about rights, permissions, reprints and license should be directed to AfricaResource.

Copyright © Africa Resource Center, Inc., 1999 - .