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Executive Summary for March 16th

In this week’s executive summary for Women’s Advancement Deeply: a shocking assassination in Rio de Janeiro, and the fight for women’s land rights in Kenya and India.

Published on March 16, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Trailblazing Rio Councillor Murdered in Targeted Killing

Marielle Franco, a feminist Brazilian politician and activist, was shot dead in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. Franco, elected to Rio’s city council last year, was a staunch advocate for women’s rights, who campaigned to widen abortion access and end gun violence in the city.

Franco spoke to News Deeply last year about her journey from Rio’s biggest slum to a spot on the council. When she ran for the seat in 2016, reporter Kamille Viola wrote at the time, “She already had three strikes against her in the eyes of the voting public: She’s a woman, she’s Afro-Brazilian and she comes from the favelas.”

Far from letting those factors hold her back, Franco put them at the center of her politics, using her position as a councillor to advocate for the rights of black women and slum residents. “Black women make up the majority of victims of rape,” she told News Deeply. “So, when I fight for [access to] legal abortion, I’m also fighting for the slums.”

Kenyan Women Receive 1.6 Percent of New Land Titles

Despite widespread efforts to increase women’s access to land in Kenya, only 1.6 percent of title deeds have been allocated to women since 2013, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. Titles for around 25 million acres (10 million hectares) of land were given out between 2013 and 2017, the Kenya Land Alliance said, with only a tiny proportion going to women.

With the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, which guaranteed women equal property rights, and the passing of the Matrimonial Property Act in 2013, it was hoped that more women would be able to exercise their right to land. But raising awareness of women’s land rights has proved difficult, and cultural traditions often trump national laws in the transferral of property.

News Deeply has reported that despite 32 percent of households in Kenya being headed by women, they hold only 1 percent of land titles on their own, while 5 percent own land jointly with men.

Women Farmers March for Rights in India

Women farmers joined their male counterparts in a march to Mumbai to demand stronger land rights and better support for the country’s struggling agriculture sector. Analysts described the women’s participation in the march as significant, given their poorer overall access to title deeds.

More than 30,000 protesters walked 112 miles (180km) to Mumbai to make their demands known. The government granted the farmers’ request for land they cultivated to be transferred into their names.

Women women hold only 12.8 percent of agricultural land in India overall.

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