Analyzing the Socio-Legal Realities of Informal Marriages in Rural Rwanda within the Broader Debate on Equal Access to Land.
PhD candidate: Katrijn Vanhees
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Eva Brems, Vakgroep Europees, Publiek- en Internationaal Recht (RE22) - Prof. dr. Giselle Corradi, Vakgroep Europees, Publiek- en Internationaal Recht (RE22)
Currently, 33.6% of the households in Rwanda are involved in a relationship that is not formally registered, nor legally recognized. The research objective of this thesis is directed at deconstructing the socio-legal realities of informal marriages in terms of land access in order to identify the mechanisms that contribute to widening the gender asset gap between informally married spouses in the context of rural Rwanda. This research builds upon the insights of sociological and feminist perspectives on law. Conversant with these insights on power dynamics within informal marriage, the research creates a dialogue between critical legal approaches towards informal marriage and the broader debate on gendered access to land. Through the Rwandan case study, the study identifies harmful mechanisms that nurture the economic exploitation of the more vulnerable spouse in informal marriages.