IJSSH 2014 Vol.4(5): 339-343 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2014.V4.375

Do Indigenous Women Have Right to Inherit Land? A Critical Review of Customary Practices of Land Inheritance with Reference to Gender Justice in Bangladesh

Lawrence Besra
Abstract—Denial of a rightful share of ancestral lands and access to resources in a patrilineal customary inheritance laws characterizes the unequal power relationships of indigenous women in Bangladesh. Indigenous women face discrimination, social exclusion, structural marginalization, gender identity and systemic oppression in the patriarchal society in Bangladesh. Descent and property is transmitted through the male line in the two indigenous communities, namely: Santal and Oraon. Women remain systemically devalued without property and genealogical identity. Women are deprived of hereditary rights and have limited control over household resources and the decision-making process. They are confined to domestic workloads. They are marginalized, excluded from holding powerful decision making positions. Socially and economically they face multiple systemic discriminations. The research makes the case that rationalization of customary practices of inheritance in line with national and international policy instruments is significant for human rights-based equitable policy implications for improved livelihood, gender justice and life chances of indigenous women in Bangladesh.

Index Terms—Indigenous women, marginalization, customary practices, women development policy, gender justice.

Lawrence Besra is with the Flinders University, Australia (e-mail: besr0001@flinders.edu.au).

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Cite: Lawrence Besra, " Do Indigenous Women Have Right to Inherit Land? A Critical Review of Customary Practices of Land Inheritance with Reference to Gender Justice in Bangladesh," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 339-343, 2014.

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