Land – its access, control and ownership – lies at the heart of power relationships within Uganda.
The struggle for land is deeply intertwined with the struggle for women’s rights. Women’s access to and control over resources and economic decision making is fundamental to the achievement of their rights. Despite some progress, inequality between women and men in ownership and control of land remains stark. Women’s rights organisations (WROs) in Uganda have identified changing patterns of land use as a major problem affecting women across the country. While land has long been a locus of conflict and dissent, the most recent wave of dispute is caused by what has been termed the land rush or land grabs – investors purchasing or leasing land for mining or the production of cash crops. The economic ideology, espoused by governments throughout Africa and beyond, is that increased foreign direct investment and the commodification of agriculture will create a more developed and prosperous economy with jobs and wealth. The reality for many rural women has been very different.