Base de données Genre et le Droit à la Terre


Normes coutumières, croyances religieuses et pratiques sociales ayant une influence sur les droits fonciers différenciés selon le genre

Traditionally, women have usufructuary rights over land, that is, “the right to the use, and to take the fruits of land for life only.” Furthermore, women, as members of the village community, have grazing rights and the right to collect firewood and fodder on communal lands. Access to water sources for domestic use, drinking and livestock is also a customary right available to women. Such rights have been established through practice over time (14).

However, most women are subject to the restrictions of purdah –seclusion – and have to get permission to leave the house and to physically get to the land (14).

Although usufructory rights are not explicitly regulated by the law, they are recognized in all four provinces, especially the right of residence in fathers’ or husbands’ land for single, widowed, or divorced women, as well as the right to protection during a woman’s lifetime. In this regard, elderly women are ensured protection and security in their son’s home. If the father is dead, the responsibility to protect an unmarried woman devolves upon the brothers (14).

In the North West Frontier Province, usufructuary rights are recognized not only in the natal family but also at the husband’s house. Women can also own land as rawaji malika, when a groom transfers some property to the woman as part of the marriage contract that he either has or is due to inherit. In these cases, men manage and decide about the land but cannot sell it. However, often this is a transaction on paper only (14).

In Punjab, women have customary access right to village common land - shamlat dah - for cultivation and pasture. This land includes uncultivated lands, the inhabited village site, and the goradeh - vacant space - reserved for expansion of the village (14).

In the region of Sindh, women may manage land only through an agent, kamdar, and only on behalf of a very young son, if there is no male member in the family (14). Here, a woman’s dowry is considered to be a compensation for her inheritance. Women’s lack of knowledge is often used to deny their rights by saying that Quran does not give women the right to own land. Women work on the land and look after livestock; in many instances, payment for wage work is received by men (14).

he practice of haq bakhshwana, that is giving up rights, whereby girls are either never married, or married to the Quran, is used in the southern parts of Punjab and of Sindh in order to prevent property going out of the family. Similarly, cousin marriages and watta satta marriages, whereby one set of brother and sister are married to one another, are also used to prevent break up of property (14).

Sources:  Les nombres affichés entre parenthèse (*) font référence aux sources énumérées dans la Bibliographie.