Impact of Polygamous Marriage on Women’s Rural Land Holding and Use Rights in Sidama Zone, SNNPR

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


This study attempts to investigate the impact of polygamous marriage on women’s rural land holding and use rights in Sidama zone. Multi- stage stratified sampling technique was used to undertake this study. A combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches was employed to collect the required data and information for this study. From two woredas and four kebeles 210 polygamous households were selected. Primary and secondary data sources were employed to collect relevant data. Polygamous household survey and key informant interviews were used to collect primary data through questionnaire and discussions. Similarly, review of published and unpublished documents was used to analyze and understand impact of polygamous marriage on women’s rural land holding and use rights in Sidama zone. The result of polygamous household survey shows that 77% of respondents replied that polygamous marriage have negative impact on women’s rural land holding and use right. From the total sample polygamous wives 98% of them replied that polygamous marriage has negative impact on women’s rural land holding and use rights. The survey of this study reveals that the negative impacts of polygamous marriage in relation to women’s land rights are fragmentation of land and income from it to support additional wives and their children. So that polygamous households faced land shortage to produce enough food for household consumption. Moreover, this study reveals that 78% of polygamous husbands married their latter wives sharing land from previous wife(s) common land holding. This result implies that polygamous wives have no secured land holding right because one day when the husband wants to marry new wife the common land with previous wife(s) will be fragmented to support additional wife(s) and children. From the total sample polygamous wives first wives constitute 30%. The result of this study showed that 92% of previous wives are not consented to the latter marriages. On the other hand 96% latter wives married polygamous husband due to their parents influence and economic problem. In this situation almost all marriages of polygamous wives were not based on their free consent. Further more, the result of this study indicated that 98% of polygamous wives accesses to land are through marriage. Marriage is the only means of access to land for women. Therefore fragmentation of land due to polygamy negatively affects the wives land right in the study area.