The Effects of Property Rights Violations on Economic Independence of Widows in Rarieda Sub-County


  • John Okandi Kogada Kisii University, Kenya
  • George Obara Nyandoro Kisii University Kenya
  • Jeanne Mogusu Kisii University, Kenya



The right of women to possess, enjoy and dispose of their property is a universal human right recognized by international human rights treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among many other regional and national instruments. Even with the enactment of laws protecting women's property rights, widows' deprivation has continued unabated. Most widows live in conditions out of the need to conform to social norms demands and meet the most basic of their needs and that of their children. The study determined a) factors influencing property rights violations b) effects of property rights on the economic independence of widows. This study employed a cross-sectional descriptive research design, and semi-structured and unstructured questionnaires were used to collect data. This design helped collect accurate data on property rights violations faced by the study population and how they influenced their economic independence. The study population consisted of widows in Rarieda Sub County. Systematic random sampling technique was used to obtain the 230 respondents to whom questionnaires were administered to obtain quantitative and qualitative data. The study found that major causes of these violations included customs and traditions, poverty, lack of knowledge of laws governing property ownership, and lack of proper enforcement of these laws by the government. 76.5% (176) of the widows were found to have not gained any property post losing their husbands. These widows indicated to have relied on aid from the government, NGOs, and willing family members to make ends meet. The study findings showed clearly that most widows suffer property rights violations in Rarieda sub-county, Siaya County. This, in turn, affects their economic independence. Cultural norms and traditions were found to be among the major factors which influence property rights violations among widows. Traditions do not allow women to inherit their father's or father-in-law's property; hence they are always left at the mercy of the husband's family. The study recommends that the community be encouraged to rethink their customary laws and align this to the provisions of various statutes/laws that grant women the right to inherit property.

Keywords: Economic Independence, Property Rights, Widow, Inheritance

Author Biographies

John Okandi Kogada, Kisii University, Kenya

Postgraduate Student

George Obara Nyandoro, Kisii University Kenya

Department of languages, linguistics and literature

Jeanne Mogusu, Kisii University, Kenya

Department of Sociology, Gender and Development Studies


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How to Cite

Kogada, J. O., G. O. Nyandoro, and J. Mogusu. “The Effects of Property Rights Violations on Economic Independence of Widows in Rarieda Sub-County”. Journal of Sociology, Psychology & Religious Studies, vol. 3, no. 4, Nov. 2021, pp. 40-56, doi:10.53819/81018102t4026.