Scoping Study on Customary Law and Women’s Entrepreneurship – BERF/DFID (2017)

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BERF/DFID, 2017 – 39 pages

This scoping study indicates how customary laws and practices can impact women as owners and managers of enterprises and as employees of these enterprises. Areas within the business environment that are most directly affected by customary laws and practices include:

  • Access to finance, with banking laws discriminating against women’s ability to apply for loans or credit without a signature from a male family member.
  • Business registration and licensing, with restrictions imposed on interacting with men who are not family members.
  • Land titles, registration, and administration, with a lack of property rights limiting women’s ability to use land as collateral.
  • Access to commercial courts and dispute resolution mechanisms, where judges may rule in favour of males on the basis that men are responsible for the family.

The study also includes some case studies highlighting promising interventions that directly or indirectly address customary law and practices to create a more gender-equitable business environment.