“Rural women’s land rights in Java, Indonesia: Strengthened by Family Law, but weakened by land registration”
In Java, Indonesia, only about one-third of land title certificates reflect ownership by women. This lack of registered land ownership can potentially harm women by depriving them of influence within the household and leaving them vulnerable in cases of divorce or a spouse’s death. This Article argues that effective land registration mechanisms and legal and social recognition of women’s property rights all play a critical role in protecting women’s ownership interests. Interviews with landowners and government officials in Java reveal that Indonesia’s land registration processes do not effectively advance ownership rights granted under the nation’s family law. Despite the government’s efforts to educate the public about land registration, few women are aware of the registration procedures. Yet women’s property interests are not compromised due 1) formal procedures which protect women when land is sold or divided, and 2) customary Javanese practices which recognize the protect the concept of marital community property.
Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal 12: 631-651