Empowering Women to Claim Inheritance Rights WIN Project

Publication Date: 15/11/2013

Women’s lack of access to and control over property and women’s inheritance rights are global issues. Women’s lack of control over land and property places them at a significant disadvantage in terms of securing a place to live, maintaining a means for survival and accessing economic opportunities. Inheritance law is one of the few areas of law that is largely derived from the Quran. As such, it’s been subject to minimal contestation by legal reformers. Egypt complex inheritance rules are mainly expounded in Law no.77 of 19431. The Constitution of 1971 protects women’s rights to own property and inheritance and this is detailed in the Civil Code which govern property ownership and which affirms the right to own. However, the reasons why women do not inherit are complicated. Inheritance is a fundamental issue with regard to how wealth is transferred within a society, and it directly relates to the protection of a woman’s housing and land. In other words, it is not only an issue of establishing the necessary legal frameworks that allow women to own and inherit property, although this element is certainly crucial. Gender-biased policies, customary law, traditions, social norms and attitudes that women cannot and should not own housing, land and property independently from a man, all serve to prevent women from realizing their rights to inherit. With the overall objective of achieving gender equality, CARE is launching in Assiut and Sohag governorates, Upper Egypt “Empowering Women to Claim Inheritance
Rights” (WIN), a three years project co-funded with the European Union and the Austrian Development Cooperation. Goal of the project is to provide local women with greater access to and control over economic rights, resources and opportunities. The proposed action to contribute to this long term goal is the involvement and the empowerment of actors at community and governorate levels to work coherently through an integrated approach to facilitate women's access to inheritance rights and to enable them to better manage their property and assets in Assiut and Sohag Governorates. The current study conducted by Beit Al Karma Consulting is intended to provide the baseline information to contribute to WIN project’s implementation, determine the awareness messages to be sent out and set the ground to measure project future impact and outcomes. [35 pages]

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