BLOG SURF: Property rights

When I was a newly practicing lawyer, I complained about how my female clients who had no independent income and no property rights were treated by their husbands.

An aunt told me that every woman should have her “Drop Dead Money.” When I asked her what that meant, she explained that if your husband beats you, evicts you from “his” home, or leaves you for another younger woman, you can say to him: “Drop dead, I have my own money!”

The same should be said about land. I understood that intuitively after 20 years in law practice.

My female clients who had agricultural land, their own home, or joint titles to marital property with their husbands were treated significantly better than those without.

It seemed that it was much harder for a man to beat his wife when she owned or partly owned the home they lived in. I had no hard data then, to prove what I now know.

Landesa research shows that secure land rights for women can make a difference.