Dr Helen Dancer’s research explores women’s claims to land in a country whose land laws are often regarded as among the most progressive for gender equality in Africa. It is based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork centring on disputes in local land tribunals in the Arusha region in northern Tanzania.
Research was conducted both inside and outside the walls of the courtroom and traced the progression of women’s claims from their social origins, through legal processes of dispute resolution to judgment. The project analysed the role of social, legal and political actors in processes of justice, including advocates and legal aid clinics. It evaluated the extent to which women are realising their interests in land through the legal system in practice.
Women, Land and Justice in Tanzania by Dr Helen Dancer
This research project commenced in 2008 and ended in 2015.
The research orientates the debates on women, land and justice in Africa towards understanding interactions between law and practice and the implications for securing women’s interests in land. In particular, the research:
While women’s equal rights to land are enshrined in law, the process of litigation through land courts presents challenges and uncertainties for many women. The research recommends:
Dr Dancer has presented her research findings at international conferences in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, France and South Africa. Upon completion of the project she returned to Arusha, Tanzania to share her findings. Her monograph, Women, Land and Justice in Tanzania (Woodbridge, James Currey 2015) was launched at the Sixth European Conference on African Studies at Université de Paris-Sorbonne on 9 July 2015.