Euripides, 431 BC, wrote about the enduring and indestructible nexus between land and identity; he stated, “There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land […]”. For displaced people and refugees who have been victims of the ravages of war, the sorrow is enormous especially because regaining access to or ownership of land is proved difficult. For war-torn women, loss of land and property is more profound.
Women are pawns of both war as well as peace. Their rights in, access to, and control over land, housing, and other property continue to be limited all over the world. Male-dominated societies, gender stereotypical attitude and gender-biased legislations are already impediments in the way of women attaining equal property rights. The situation is worse in post-conflict societies.
The position of women with regard to land and property ownership is weakened by both conflicts and the ensuing reconstruction process in societies where their access to land and property is already precarious. The imbalance in power relations between men and women is deepened throughout the conflict and more often than not even continues during the reconstruction process.
How a post-conflict country addresses and deals with housing, land and property issues within its jurisdiction in particular can determine the extent of peace that shall prevail and the amount of restorative justice that will be enshrined within its legal and political frameworks.
This paper examines the significance of property rights for women. It also provides for an assessment of the nature of women‟s property rights in places that have been subjected to conflict, and points out exemplary case-studies of gendered rights to land under different types of post-conflict situations. A number of a policy and programmatic recommendations are provided in the paper for improving gender equity with regard to economic rights in post-conflict regions.