Anti-women laws make discrimination against women that range from the absurd to the horrifying. It’s hard to believe but there are still countries where being a woman is a problem.
In the period of 1770s to 2014, a number of laws were specifically created to deny certain women rights and opportunities in different spheres.
Although there are many wonderful people doing everything to make the world equal, there are many places around the world where violence against women still exists and women are not granted the same rights as men.
It’s been over 20 years since 189 states agreed to plan to develop women’s rights, end violence against women and achieve gender equality. It was called the Beijing Platform for Action where the countries elaborated to abolish any laws that make discrimination on the basis of sex.
But sadly this goal has yet not been reached and there is still work to be done. According to the statistics, over 44 countries have anti-women laws.
Down below you can find some of the most ridiculous anti-women laws that you may not believe still exist across the globe today.
Anti-women laws #1: Can women be abducted without any punishment?
In fact, there are still some places around the world where kidnapping a woman is not an illegal thing. To illustrate, in Malta, if a man who kidnaps a woman has the intention to marry her, his penalty for abduction is automatically reduced.
Furthermore, if the man marries his victim after the abduction, he is subsequently released from any kind of prosecution and punishment.
A similar law can be found in Lebanon, where a man who abducts or rapes a woman cannot be prosecuted if he marries the victim after committing the crime.
Anti-women laws #2: 21st century and violence against women continues
It’s really hard to believe but there are still some countries where women can be beaten. In fact, such laws are not uncommon in 46 countries, including Myanmar and Uzbekistan, have no laws protecting them from discrimination or this kind of violence against women.
For instance, in Nigeria, a man can legally attack and assault a woman without facing prosecution or punishment if that woman is his wife and if there is no severe hurt.
Not to mention that in Pakistan there is a wife-beating bill that was proposed by the Council of Islamic Ideology. The bill states that a man can ‘lightly beat’ his wife as a form of order and discipline.
In particular, the wife can be beaten if she does one of the following: does not dress up as her husband desires, ignores or resists his commands, refuses intercourse or does not take a bath after intercourse.
In some countries, it’s legal for a man to rape his wife. For example, in 2013, India actually added an article to existing legislation that enabled a man to rape his wife if she is over 15 years of age.
Similar to this case, in the Bahamas, it’s legal if a husband sexually assaults his wife if she is over the age of 14, whereas in Singapore she needs to be over 13.
Anti-women laws #3: A woman’s evidence is worthless
It seems that the right of a witness to testify in a court is indisputable. Even though we have come a long way in dealing with violence against women there are still some countries where a woman’s testimony is practically worthless as it counts for half of that of a man’s.
To bring an example, in Iran in some cases a woman’s evidence in court is less valuable than that of a man. In the majority of these cases, there must be testimony from at least double the number of women as there are men.
Similarly, in Pakistan, the testimony provided by a woman is worth exactly half that of a man in certain cases.
Anti-women laws #4: When a man has the right to choose a woman’s work
In some countries like Cameroon and Guinea, men have control over the occupation that their wives are allowed to do and they have more of a say in where their wives will work than the women themselves.
And these countries are only two of 18 countries where women cannot get a job if their husbands object and feel it is not in their interest.
Furthermore, in Congo, a “wife is obliged to live with her husband and follow him wherever he sees fit to reside.” Also, a woman is not allowed to appear in civil court or undertake commitments without her husband’s permission that makes it almost impossible for a woman to open her own business independently.
Let’s also not that in Yemen a wife “must obey her husband and refrain from disobedience and perform her work around the conjugal home.” She’s not allowed to leave the home without her husband’s permission. And when she goes outside it must be for “a mutually agreed job that does not conflict with Islamic law”.
Anti-women laws #5: In some places, woman can’t get divorced
In Israel, where marriages and divorces are under the rabbinical law, the law states that states divorces can only take place if requested by the husband. So, women have a lesser right to leave their husbands than men.
That is to say, the divorce can be granted “if the husband wants to divorce her,” as the matter depends only on what he wants.
Similarly, in Mali, a woman faces strict guidelines for remarriage after divorce. First, the woman can only find a new husband after waiting for three months, and a widow cannot remarry before four months and 10 days after her husband’s death. Moreover, if the widow is pregnant she must wait until giving birth.
Anti-women laws #6: Imagine a place where a cheating wife can be killed
In Syria, a man must only stay to seven years in prison if he murders his wife, daughter sister or mother after finding her in a situation of an ‘illegitimate’ sexual act.
Before 2009, in that kind of situations men were exempt from punishment. But that changed in 2011 when the minimum sentence became five years in prison, but no more than seven.
The situation is similar in Egypt, where a man can kill his wife and get off with a far more merciful punishment than is typically given for murder if he catches his wife cheating him. Egyptian law proclaims that “Whoever surprises his wife in the act of adultery and kills her on the spot together with her adulterer-partner shall be punished with detention,” instead of the typically ascribed 20 years of hard labor for murder.
Anti-women laws #7: Where women are not allowed to do labor
In China, women can’t work in mines or do difficult physical labor, and “other work that female workers should avoid.”
In Madagascar, it’s illegal to employ women for night job in an “industrial establishment” if it’s not the family business. Similarly, in Russia “labor of females on hard, dangerous and/or unhealthy trades…is forbidden.”
Anti-women laws #8: Is it fair when in some places sisters don’t inherit as much as brothers?
There are different versions of this law that exist in various parts of the world. For example, according to the country’s law, Tunisian women are only given half an inherited wealth and two daughters are allowed only two-thirds of what was willed.
But the law also reads “Where there are any sons, the male inherits twice as much as the female”. The law is almost exactly the same in the United Arab Emirates where men are granted double what women are allowed to inherit.
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