Land reform and gender equality are important development issues in

post-Genocide Rwanda. Beginning in 1999, the government of Rwanda

passed and implemented reforms which granted women rights to own and

use land on an equal status with men. However, as is expected with

widespread social reform, obstacles continue to inhibit widespread gender

equality in practice. In Rwanda, major social obstacles manifest in the

form of (1) resistance to allowing daughters to inherit land from their

parents, (2) adherence to assumptions of female inferiority, and (3) the

persistence of informal marriages, in which wives remain unprotected by

the new laws. Interested actors have documented these obstacles and

proposed legal and policy solutions to overcome them. This article seeks to

identify the causes underlying these obstacles to gender equality. Through

this analysis, I find that land scarcity, vestiges of discriminatory legal

systems, and gendered power structures are significant underlying causes

of these social obstacles. I argue that many of the currently proposed

solutions are inadequate because they do not address these underlying

causes, as is necessary to better secure women's land rights.

The question currently before Rwanda - how to ensure gender equality in

the face of continuing social obstacles - has importance outside Rwanda's

borders. The underlying causes discussed in this Article are not unique to

Rwanda. Understanding the ways in which these factors inhibit gender

equality, and finding solutions to overcome them, are lessons learned not

just for Rwanda, but also for the international development community.