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Women unaware of property rights despite 5-year-old law

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 at 12:51 pm

A recent survey found that most women did not know they have the right to have their names on land use rights certificates.

Action Aid Vietnam conducted a survey on women’s rights to access land in six districts throughout Vietnam – Da Bac in Hoa Binh, Tam Duong in Lai Chau, Ninh Phuoc in Ninh Thuan, Mang Yang in Gia Lai, Cau Ngang in Tra Vinh and Vung Liem in Vinh Long.

According to the survey, conducted from June to August in more than 1,000 households, although a five-year-old law stipulates that both women and men are entitled to jointly have their names on ownership documents, awareness of the right varies.

In many cases, women are not signatories for land use rights and goods. This puts them in a position of dependency, which can be a hidden threat to women and their children in difficult times.

Saroj Dash, director of Acting Action Aid, said that while women are the key to feeding and bringing up families, their right to access and utilisation of land and goods is violated in many cases.

He said that one of the actions the Government could take to achieve better food security for destitute women was to recognise their rights to land access and land use, both in law and in reality.

“This is a very basic and legitimate right for women,” he said.

Many Vietnamese women, especially those with little formal education, do not know this. Even female district officials are often not fully aware of the need to convert single name certificates into joint ownership.

One female district head of the Vietnam Women’s Union said oriental women often thought that property belonged to their husbands, but as marriages almost never broke up and tradition recognised her contribution to the household, there was little need to worry.

Couples who would like to have both their names on a certificate are afraid of the cumbersome administrative formalities and high registration fees.

The Action Aid report has recommended simplifying certification and raising the awareness of women and officials in public authorities.-

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