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Lack of land lack of dignity

Lack of land lack of dignity

In most third world countries the people are small farmers (peasants). They till small plots of land as owners, tenants and/or share croppers.
Peasants depend on their farms for almost all of their basic needs. Having or lacking an access to land thus becomes a matter of life or death. And this brings us to women’s rights to landownership-when they are married and live together with their husbands or when they are divorced and live by themselves.
In Ethiopia women’s right to land ownership even though it is on paper the implementation lacks commitment from the officials with traditional thinking.
The following personal story of an Ethiopian sex worker (woman) may perhaps generally represent the lots of millions of peasant women! The story comes from a focus group discussion (FGG) in Ethiopia.
She and her husband used to jointly own a plot of land and some livestock. They had six children. When they divorced she got her share of that property based on the existing family law.
Nonetheless, her ex-husband and his relatives continued coming at night to terrorize her to leave the land. Her repeated report of the incident to the local administration did not help her get any legal protection.
Her life became increasingly threatened. She then decided to leave with her two small children leaving the rest behind. With no clear destination insight she just ended up in a city far away from her native village.
With two children and without urban-life skills getting a job became imponderable.
She said, “For my survival and the survival of my children I had to sell myself and thereby my dignity to become a sex worker because the administration failed to enforce the existing family law. “

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sosena's picture

Lack of land lack of dignity

I am not sure what is needed here. Comment about what? Any ways I want to submit this article and get your feedback. Since I am new I am not sure what to comment.

sosena's picture

In the article the women is

In the article the women is evicted from her land due to lack of commitment by the government officials to protect her rights. It is not enough to have law or policy if it is only on paper.

Rebecca Snavely's picture

women in Ethiopia

Sosena,

Thank you so much for sharing this and bringing this issue to the attention of the community. It's so important for other women, and men, to realize that the sex trade often seems the only option for desperate women. I was in Addis Ababa for a very short visit to work on a documentary, and we had the chance to talk to some sex workers late at night in the Merkato district. It was absolutely heartbreaking to meet girls (some just 14) who had run away, had no protection from abuse by a husband, brother or other male family member. Some did not talk of abuse, but of poverty, and came to the city hoping for work and could not afford to return home. Once in the sex trade, they saw no future beyond it, they told us the shame will not allow them to get a regular job as a house helper or such.

I felt so helpless in the face of this, only able to listen and hear their stories and share them with others. I want to know more about your work there with rural women and your thoughts about how to help prevent women from going into the sex trade, as well as how to help women already in it.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience there. Know that women around the world are fighting for these equal rights, and want to help you in your fight.

All my best,

Rebecca

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