System of oppression and gender discrimination among India’s scheduled tribes revealed

Researchers for a global land rights organisation have published a grim assessment of the land and inheritance rights of women living in scheduled tribe communities in the state of Jharkhand, India – and how the existing system of laws and cultural practices denies them their rights.

In ‘This is not your home’: An assessment of land rights of tribal women in Jharkhand, Landesa researchers show how the system deters tribal women from accessing their rights to land.

Customary practices of tribal communities do not support women’s land rights and the law of the state accepts such customary practices to be legal.

While the research focuses on the state of Jharkhand, similar trends are observable in India’s other tribal areas.

Shipra Deo, Landesa’s director of women’s land rights, India, said: “India’s tribal land laws have categorically failed to protect the rights and interests of women in tribal communities.

“Though intended to preserve cultural and religious practices of scheduled tribe communities, these laws instead fortify deeply entrenched gender discrimination, subjecting women in tribal communities to the basest assaults against their dignity, livelihoods, and even their lives.”