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News and Views: Marriage and Divorce

Government hopes new Tanzania constitution bans child marriage

October 21, 2013

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania(Thomson Reuters Foundation)--Tanzania is banking on the on-going constitutional review process of marriage laws to stop child marriages, according to a report in the government newspaper Daily News.

The marriage Act of 1971 allows girls as young as 14-years-old to marry with parental consent. On average, two out of five girls are married off before their 18th birthday, putting Tanzania among countries with the highest child marriage rates in the world.

Lebanon: Islamic Clerics Oppose Law Protecting Abused Women

July 25, 2013

Two weeks ago, Lebanese women were compelled to recognize once again that they are left to be victims of violence in many forms — including murder — without any legislation protecting them or holding the aggressor accountable. The reason for that is the position of some clerics, who justify these views using religious convictions and concepts.

WHO Report: Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women

June 21, 2013

 

WHO has published a report on violence against women using data from all regions of the world.

 

The report compiles data from all over the world to analyze two types of violence against women - violence by a partner and sexual violence by a non-partner.

Also included is an important and shocking finding that about a third of women worldwide have experienced violence in some form during their lives.

 

For the full report, click here.

UN Women: culture must not block progress on stopping gender violence

March 4, 2013

Commission on Status of Women opens in New York, but Iran, Russia and Vatican thought to be lobbying against key proposals.

Culture and religion must not be allowed to block proposals to eliminate and prevent violence against women and girls, the head of UN Women said on the eve of what is expected to be the largest global summit ever convened to discuss the issue.

Women’s rights and the rule of law: education and implementation

December 5, 2012

Legislative victories are important in changing society to eradicate injustices like forced child marriage, but such change is delivered because of and not without daring, challenging, transformative processes of education and action whether led by state, religious, familiar or civic actors. Trusting women, and trusting ourselves, can often be a moment of defiance

UK: Forced marriage phone app launched to help youngsters

December 18, 2012

A new smartphone app to help young people who may be at risk of being forced into marriage has been launched by a London charity.

It has been designed by the Metropolitan Police together with the Freedom Charity, which works to prevent honour-related violence.

The Freedom app provides young victims with essential access to help and all the information they may need on the issue at the touch of a button.

Egypt: The Day after the Referendum

December 13, 2012

It will pass… a draft of a constitution that doesn’t represent Egyptians or their dreams. A draft that did not engage them in the dialogue for change, which passed just two before the referendum, without giving Egyptians the opportunity to discuss it. When the revolution started, Egyptians looked forward to a time where they could evaluate their beliefs and values, discuss them, even change them and reflect it all in a document that recorded the whole process. But this never happened.

South Sudan: Contraceptives give women the right to choose

November 14, 2012

JUBA - Cut off from development by five decades of civil war, South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world and high levels of infant mortality and morbidity. Large families struggle to get by in the war-ravaged new nation.

With the help of aid agencies providing family planning services to bolster a fledgling healthcare system, women and families are starting to choose life for the first time.

Canada: Forced marriage, Is it a crime? A legal issue dealt with abroad now emerges in Canada

August 31, 2012

Shafilea Ahmed drank bleach after her parents drugged her and dragged her onto a plane to Pakistan where they planned to marry her to a much older man.

The 17-year-old’s desperate ploy succeeded in getting her sent back home to Britain where she spent eight weeks in hospital. Tragically, it didn’t save her life: Seven months later Shafilea was dead, suffocated by her parents, who forced a plastic bag down her throat in front of her siblings as a warning against them acquiring their sister’s “western” habits.

UN: First International Day of the Girl Child - 11 October 2012

October 11, 2012
Forced Child Marriage, Slavery Like Reality in Every Region of the World
Joint Statement* by a group of UN human rights experts to mark the first International Day of the Girl Child, Thursday 11 October 2012

 

Returning to school after escaping child marriage

October 10, 2012

In recent years, the international community has begun to place increased attention on girls’ education generating a better understanding of the underlying causes and consequences of the disparities, and an international consensus on the need to address the issue. Much has been done to create awareness and demonstrate that change is not only necessary but also possible.

India: Husbands May Have to Pay Salary to Wives

September 10, 2012

NEW DELHI – The Indian government is mulling a proposal that would make it mandatory for men to share a percentage of their monthly income with wives who stay at home to do household chores and look after the children, the Indian Express reported on Monday.

Afghanistan: End trend of Women Jailed for ‘Running Away’

September 18, 2012

(Kabul) – High-level Afghan government officials have for the first time publicly confirmed that it is not a criminal offense for women and girls to “run away” from home, Human Rights Watch said today. The officials also confirmed fleeing violence or running away was not a basis for women’s detention or prosecution.

JORDAN: Early marriage - a coping mechanism for Syrian refugees?

July 19, 2012

Some Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan are opting to marry off their daughters at a young age believing that marital status offers a form of protection and insurance. 

"In Maraq, we have come across around 50 cases of early marriages since the day we started helping out Syrians. Most of them are married to Syrians, especially cousins," said Khaled Ghanem, from the Islamic Society Centre (ISC). 

السودان: ينبغي وضع حد لعقوبة الرجم، وإصلاح القانون الجنائي

July 30, 2012

 

تدين منظمة العفو الدولية الحكم بالرجم حتى الموت الذي صدر بحق ليلى إبراهيم عيسى جمول، وتدعو الحكومة السودانية إلى وقف تنفيذ الحكم وإصلاح قانونها الجنائي بلا تأخير، بهدف إلغاء عقوبة الإعدام إلغاءً تاماً.

Sudan: End stoning, reform the criminal law

July 30, 2012

Amnesty International condemns the sentencing of Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul to death by stoning and calls on the Sudanese government to halt the execution and to reform its criminal law without delay, with the aim to abolish corporal punishment.

Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul, a 23-year old Sudanese woman, was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery on 10 July 2012 by the Criminal Court of Mayo, in Khartoum, under Article 146 of Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Code.

South Africa: Bride abductions 'a distortion' of South Africa's culture

July 12, 2012

When cows are traded for an unwilling bride, rural Zulu women lose their freedom, and more. Called thwala, the practice is often abused, activists say.

 NORTHWEST OF HOWICK, South Africa —

— She was named Democracy in Zulu, at a time when her country had none.

A few years later, the constitution born of the historic South African election that ended apartheid made Nonkululeko "free" and "equal." But the eight cows paid for her as a bride price mean that she is neither.

Lebanon: Boys do cry

June 21, 2012

“Feeling stressed, agitated, over the edge?” These are the slogans you read on billboards across the country. These expressions aren’t new to Lebanon’s urban dictionary – however it may be the first time they are being used constructively. The banners depict men mostly from the working class in aggravating circumstances. One billboard shows a taxi driver, raising his arm in disdain at the traffic (or so it seems), the slogan heading the picture reads: “feeling like you’ve reached the end of your line? Don’t vent out your anger on others, or your family. Call us, we are ready to listen.”

Arab states: Plan to Increase Judges' Education on Women's Rights

June 24, 2012

Plans are underway to educate more Bahraini and Arab judges on women's social and humanitarian rights.

Arab Women Organisation (AWO) director-general Dr Wadooda Badran said efforts were being made to bridge the gap between realising women's rights and enforcing them in the Arab world.

They include amending legislation, conducting awareness campaigns, sponsoring studies, speaking to young students and possibly setting up a women's studies research centre in the region.

Sierra Leone: Fighting for women’s right to land

June 22, 2012

FREETOWN - Shortly after her father died, Sia Bona’s husband’s family took over her father’s oil-palm plantation and rice paddies, and drove her and her mother from their home. “I came from riches, but now I am poor,” said the 45-year-old teacher from Koidu town in eastern Sierra Leone. 

Greece: Crisis hits women especially hard

June 15, 2012

Disproportionately affected by public sector cuts and expected to step into caring roles, women also face rising domestic violence.

NEPAL: The hidden costs of early marriage

June 18, 2012

KATHMANDU - Thousands of Nepali girls leave school every year to get married, missing out on their education, the government says. Parents are often unaware of the impact that trying to save the money spent on education can have on the future of their daughter. 

NÉPAL: Le coût caché du mariage précoce

June 18, 2012

KATMANDOU, 18 juin 2012 (IRIN) - Des milliers de jeunes népalaises abandonnent l’école chaque année pour se marier, ce qui leur bloque l’accès à l’éducation, selon le gouvernement. Les parents, qui ont recours à cette pratique pour économiser les frais de scolarité, n’ont souvent pas conscience de l’impact que cela peut avoir sur l’avenir de leurs filles.

Ghana: Land Tenure System and Women's Rights

June 8, 2012

Land relations are critical for women's right in Ghana. This is because of the centrality of land as a resource for the livelihoods of the majority of our population, food, water, fuel and medical plants.

Those who control lands and its resources also gain social and political power and authority. As such, women's unequal land rights affect their access to other resources and their economic, social and political status in society.

Egypt: Campaign in response to potential lowering of marriage age for girls

May 3, 2012

Plan is deeply concerned at new proposals by the Egyptian parliament to reduce the legal age for girls to marry to 14 – just 4 years after a successful campaign increased the age limit to 18.

Early marriage can have a devastating impact on girls’ lives – they are more likely to be forced out of school, live in poverty, have early pregnancies and endure health complications or die during childbirth.

Legal protection

Is Pleasure a Sin?

June 5, 2012

It’s hard to say what is weirder:

A Sister of Mercy writing about the Kama Sutra, sexual desire and “our yearnings for pleasure.”

Or the Vatican getting so hot and bothered about the academic treatise on sexuality that the pope censures it, causing it to shoot from obscurity to the top tier of Amazon.com’s best-seller list six years after it was published.

Just the latest chapter in the Vatican’s thuggish crusade to push American nuns — and all Catholic women — back into moldy subservience.

United Arab Emirates: Gender equality is more than financial

June 6, 2012

The UAE has consistently taken steps to empower women. Female workers can be seen across all sectors of the economy, from media and law to engineering and science. But while the UAE is ahead of other countries in the region in guaranteeing gender rights and equality, women's empowerment is still a work in progress.

Cameroon: Matrilineal Custom Puts Widows in Limbo

June 8, 2012

DIKOME BALUE, Cameroon -- James Elangwe, 87, belongs to the Balues, the only clan in which inheritance passes through the female line.

But this doesn't mean that women inherit. Instead, it means that when a man dies, the first son of the man's sister inherits.

Elangwe says matrilineal inheritance puts women at a greater disadvantage than patrilineal inheritance because wealth leaves the immediate family.

India: Stop Child Marriage Entrapment

May 28, 2012

Punitive measures against girls forced into child marriages should not find a place in government policies, programmes and practices.

Uganda: Changing attitudes to widespread early marriage

June 7, 2012

I’ve been working to defend children’s rights since way back. Growing up in rural Uganda I was always aware that many of my friends were denied the chance to fulfil their potential.

Eventually you find that very few friends you started school with complete it with you, and when you look back and think why, you realise it is often because their rights weren’t fulfilled – or protected.

Egypt: Elections - a Choice Between Islamic Dictatorship and Military Authoritarianism

May 31, 2012

For the next and final round of presidential elections, Egyptians are being asked to choose between an Islamic or military dictatorship both claiming legitimacy through the ballot box.

United Kingdom: Pressures and Resistance to Polygamy

May 31, 2012

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.

Pakistan: Little justice for victims of acid attacks

May 29, 2012

FAISALABAD, Pakistan— The cherub-faced 10-year-old girl was standing at a bus stop, saying goodbye to visiting relatives, when her mother noticed two motorcycles approaching, one coming down the street and the other from a graveyard behind them.

She recognized someone on one of the motorcycles: her older daughter's former fiance. He was clutching two liter-sized metal jugs.

Saudi Arabia: Manal al-Sharif - 'They just messed with the wrong woman'

May 23, 2012

She is the Saudi woman who became a symbol of female emancipation when she was filmed behind the wheel of a car. In a rare interview, she tells Guy Adams of the persecution she has endured in her fight for equality – and why she will not be silenced.

Indonesia: Women's rights activists push back against threats to gender equality

May 11, 2012

JAKARTA: New legislation being proposed in Indonesia has created a stir of antagonism, especially from conservative Islamist groups in the country, who demand that Islamic law, or Sharia, is implemented and followed in the country.

But women’s groups are lashing out against the push by the Islamic organizations to curtail the bill’s progression in government, saying that “all women and men in Indonesia deserve equal access under the law.”

Egypt: New Al-Azhar document to safeguard women's rights

May 13, 2012

“Al-Azhar, the country’s highest religious institution, intends to prepare a new document to safeguard women’s rights, as enshrined in the Islamic Sharia,” said Ahmed el-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar.

India: Polygamy Fatwa Welcomed by Islamic Council of India

May 7, 2012

The fatwa was issued in response to a query by a man who wanted advice on marrying twice. “Although Islam permits two wives at the same time, Indian traditions do not allow it,” the seminary said, adding that while Islam “allowed” second marriage, the practice itself was not encouraged. Serving as a leading institution of Islamic learning in India for over 150 years, the Deoband seminary also has a global presence from which thousands of Sunni Islamic scholars are graduated. In Islam, marriage is a sacred bond that brings together a man and a woman by virtue of the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Each partner in this sacred relationship must treat the other properly and with respect.

Is There Ever a Good Reason for Child Marriage?

May 7, 2012

As activists and researchers who have worked for many years to support and protect girls across India, we were dismayed to read a recent DoubleX article describing a mass wedding and betrothal ceremony of underage girls and boys as a “welcome event.” The article went on to compare child marriage to the prostitution of girls, describing child marriage as “the lesser of two evils." What a shameful rationalization!

Turkey: Women See Worrisome Rise in Domestic Violence

April 25, 2012

ISTANBUL — Gokce, a soft-spoken 37-year-old mother of two, has lived on the run for 15 years, ever since her abusive husband tracked her down, broke down her door and shot her in the leg six times after she refused to return to him.

Not victims of tradition: Women speak out and advocate for girls facing abusive fates

May 2, 2012

The two women met for the first time last week at a sleek Georgetown hotel, where they were speakers at a glittering charity dinner. They shook hands and hugged across a vast gulf of culture, geography and faith: one a devout Muslim from West Africa with her hair carefully hidden under a tight scarf, the other a gregarious South Asian in a stylish sari and costume earrings.

Albania: Virginity pressures bring women to the operating table

April 29, 2012

Tirana, ALBANIA: A secret crisis for women is happening in Albania. It has to do with a women’s health, identity, chastity and marriage. According to confirmations by doctors at gynaecological clinics in Albania’s capital city of Tirana, up to three young women each day are undergoing a surgical procedure in Tirana: a simple 20-minute gynaecological intervention to become virgins again.

Bangladesh: Three Stories of Child Marriage

April 21, 2012

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with 20% of girls becoming wives before their 15th birthday, even though 18 is the minimum age allowed by law. Why?

"It is the new kind of slavery," says Mirna Ming Ming Evora, who's the country director for the NGO Plan International.

"Here girls are a burden, they don't earn income in this culture."

Zainah Anwar: Arab Spring opens window of opportunity for women in Mideast

April 29, 2012
In many countries of the Middle East, women are wondering what the Arab Spring means for them. Some observers are concerned that the power vacuum will leave the door open for Islamist groups to take power and force changes opposing women’s rights.

 Zainah Anwar, a leading Malaysian social activist and intellectual, is not one of them. She is even excited about the prospects that the Arab Spring could have for women.

Indonesia: Change in attitudes, laws and police training needed to stop sexual violence

April 10, 2012

JAKARTA - Survivors of sexual violence in Indonesia face an uphill battle in recovery as a result of an inadequate legal system, police inaction, and prevailing societal attitudes that tend to be suspicious of victims, say activists.

Why do they hate us? - Mona Eltahawy

April 23, 2012

In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to depriv

Pakistan: Pro-women laws take hold

March 26, 2012

Women in Pakistan have faced formidable challenges in their efforts to achieve gender equality and address gender-based violence in their country, with particular problems posed by elements among customary norms and practices.

Yet throughout the past few years, breakthroughs in pro-women legislation have shown that both the efforts of Pakistan’s government, and the advocacy of groups working toward women’s empowerment in the country, are taking effect.

Kuwait: Egyptian teen attempts suicide to avoid forced marriage

March 20, 2012

Kuwaiti police has launched an investigation into the attempted suicide of an 18-year old Egyptian girl who threw herself off the balcony of an apartment building to avoid a forced marriage.

She survived the fall but suffered multiple fractures.

While recovering at a hospital, the girl told the police that her mother and brother had unexpectedly introduced her to a man and told her that she was his wife and should start “spousal relations” according to a report in Kuwait’s al Rai newspaper.

Turkmenistan: "Price of Marriage"

March 19, 2012

An old tradition where grooms make a substantial payment to the bride’s family is flourishing in Turkmenistan, and the sums changing hands are getting higher.

The custom of paying for a bride, known as “kalym”, has seen a significant revival in Turkmenistan in the years since the Soviet period, when it was officially banned. Nine of ten Turkmen marriages contracted in 2011 involved a transaction of this kind.

Morocco: Rape-Marriage Law Will Be Amended

March 15, 2012

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco on Thursday said it would amend a law allowing rapists to marry their underage female victims after the suicide of a teenage girl raised doubts about the effectiveness of reforms to women's rights in the country.

Sixteen-year-old Amina El-Filali killed herself last week near the northern city of Larache by swallowing rat poison after a six-month forced marriage to the man who raped her.

Local human rights activists say the law violates women's rights and was created to avoid damage to the reputation of the victim's family.

Morocco: Amina Filali, Rape Survivor, Commits Suicide After Forced Marriage To Rapist

March 21, 2012

RABAT, Morocco -- The case of a 16-year-old girl who killed herself after she was forced to marry her rapist has spurred outrage among Morocco's internet activists and calls for changes to the country's laws.

An online petition, a Facebook page and countless tweets expressed horror over the suicide of Amina Filali, who swallowed rat poison on Saturday to protest her marriage to the man who raped her a year earlier.

Afghan Clerics' Conservative Blueprint for Women

March 7, 2012

As Afghanistan prepares to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, rights groups have expressed concern at a set of restrictive measures proposed by the country’s Council of Religious Scholars. Other commentators suspect the Islamic clerics of trying to win over insurgent groups like the Taleban by publicly espousing conservative views.

The 150-member council issued a “code of conduct” last week calling for segregation of the sexes in the workplace and in education, and barring women from travelling unless accompanied by a close male relative.

Iranian responses to the “Arab spring”: appropriation and contestation

February 29, 2012

While the Iranian government authorities attempted to appropriate the Arab spring, claiming it was a continuation of the Iranian revolution of 1979, the events revived popular longing for democratic change in Iran. Ziba Mir-Hosseini tells Deniz Kandiyoti that no movement for change in Iran can afford to ignore women’s aspiration for equality – a lesson that some of the successful elements in the Arab spring may yet have to learn.

Pakistan: Abducted and forced into a Muslim marriage

February 27, 2012

KARACHI - Sixteen-year-old Ameena Ahmed*, now living in the town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, does not always respond when her mother-in-law calls out to her.

“Even after a year of `marriage’ I am not used to my new name. I was called Radha before,” she told IRIN on a rare occasion when she was allowed to go to the corner shop on her own to buy vegetables.

India: Madrassas to fight for women’s talaq power

February 20, 2012

Leading Islamic scholars fromreputed 250 ‘madrassas’ around the country will deliberate on the dissolution of marriage and other issues related to Muslim Personal Law at an international seminar in the Madhya Pradesh (MP) city of Mhow from March 2-5.

South Asia: Focus of Global Activism Against Child Marriage

February 10, 2012

NEW DELHI, Feb 10 - Scores of South Asian charities struggling to curb high child-marriage rates are backing a global movement spearheaded by South African peace icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu to end the practice affecting millions of girls and women worldwide.

Representatives from charities in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka gathered in New Delhi last week at the regional launch of the "Girls Not Brides" alliance – created by Tutu, 80, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for speaking out against white minority rule in South Africa.

Kyrgyzstan: Efforts to Tackle Bride Kidnapping Hit Polygamy Snag

February 11, 2012

BISHKEK - Legislation designed to discourage the controversial practice of bride kidnapping fizzled recently in Kyrgyzstan's parliament.

The bill lost support because a key provision could also be used to crack down on the ostensibly illegal, yet quietly tolerated practice of polygamy, according to a member of parliament.

Lebanon: Activists can't use "rape" in billboards

February 8, 2012

You’ll soon seen billboards across Lebanon in support of a demonstration on February 18 to raise awareness about a draft law on domestic violence against women.

But get this: the billboards have already been censored.

Activists originally submitted the image (pictured above) to General Security for approval (all billboards are subject to censorship by the government body). But officials came back and rejected the use of the word “rape” in the graphic.

'The Elders' Take a Stand Against Child Marriage

February 13, 2012

The idea first took shape in conversations between two old friends, musician Peter Gabriel and inventive entrepreneur Richard Branson. What the world needs now, they decided, is a nucleus of wise elder statesmen and women to grapple with seemingly intractable global issues that governments and international institutions overlook or have failed to correct. Gabriel and Branson sold the concept to Nelson Mandela, and in July 2007 The Elders were launched by Mandela at a ceremony in Johannesburg.

India: In Sehruwa village women do not vote

January 12, 2012

In Sehruwa - a village in India's Uttar Pradesh state, women have never exercised one of their most important constitutional rights: vote  Ironically, Sehruwa is only 144 km away from Lucknow - the state capital where Mayawati - the state's (woman) chief minister resides.

 

Saudi Arabia: Women Resist Male Guardianship Laws

January 18, 2012

Mona Hamid left Saudi Arabia 8 years ago for a career in marketing in Dubai. Now, the mother of two and a career woman is fighting back against what she calls the archaic practice of male guardianship in her home country.

“When I wanted to leave Saudi Arabia after university, I had to get permission from my father, and that took a lot of convincing,” she told Bikyamasr.com. “I had to explain why this was a good idea and how I would still be able to find a husband.”

Pakistan: Region Gives Women Legal Right To Property

January 6, 2012

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A Pakistani regional assembly has passed a law making it illegal for parents not to extend property rights to female family members, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The bill was presented in the assembly in the northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by deputy Noor Sahar and was unanimously passed on January 5.

Lebanon: Hundreds of women and men march against rape

January 16, 2012

BEIRUT: Women and men from across Lebanon marched together over the weekend to call for changing the law governing rape crimes and support for victims of such acts.

The march, which began at noon in the Beirut district of Sanayeh, and ended in Parliament Square, drew over 600 people Saturday. Marchers held signs reading, “It is time to hear the screams of all the mothers and daughters the law has silenced,” “Change the laws against marital rape,” and “Skirt length is not an invitation.”

Indonesia: Polygamy Dispute at Center of Shia School Burning

December 29, 2011

The torching of a Shia-run Islamic boarding school in East Java on Thursday stemmed from a sibling dispute after a cleric at the school denied his brother the right to enter into polygamous marriage with one of the students, a teacher said. 

“A male resident sought revenge on his brother, a Shia cleric who refused to let him marry one of his female students as it would be polygamy,” said Ustadz Muhyi, one of the teachers at Tajuk Muluk Islamic boarding school (pesantren) in Sampang district.

India: Women Pregnant With Girls Pressured Into Abortions

December 9, 2011

 It is a country with a female president and where men revere female goddesses. And yet, India is far from a haven for women.

According to current estimates, Indian men outnumber women by nearly 40 million. That startling gender gap, activists say, is the result of gendercide. Nearly 50,000 female fetuses are aborted every month and untold numbers of baby girls are abandoned or murdered.

Yemen: Child Marriage Spurs Abuse of Girls and Women

December 8, 2011

(Beirut) – Widespread child marriage jeopardizes Yemeni girls’ access to education, harms their health, and keeps them second-class citizens, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government of Yemen should set 18 as the minimum age for marriage to improve girls’ opportunities and protect their human rights.

Papua New Guinea: Police Cite Bride Price Major Factor in Marital Violence

November 21, 2011

Bride price is the major contributing factor today that’s why married men feel they can do anything to their wives, a senior Papua New Guinea police officer says. Minj police station commander Horim Piamia said many men regarded their wives as materials they bought from a shop and not as their partners.

UK: Forced Marriage Hidden from View

November 29, 2011

Plans by the government to criminalise forced marriage in the UK will put women and girls at even greater risk of violence. Forced marriages can only be tackled from within and by the community, with sufficient resources to support this work, says Sajda Mughal

Afghanistan: Woman left to Marry her Attacker to Obtain Release from Jail

December 1, 2011

An Afghan woman jailed for adultery after she was raped by a relative is set to be freed – but only after agreeing to marry the man who attacked her.

The case, which has highlighted the plight of Afghan women jailed for so-called moral crimes, was to be the subject of a documentary film funded by the European Union – until diplomats censored it out of fear for the woman's welfare, and for their relations with the Afghan government.

Pakistan: New Bill Passed to Protect Women's Rights

November 24, 2011

Women's rights groups in Pakistan have welcomed the passing of a bill which will punish those who force women into marriages, or deny them inheritance.

Busting the Myths about Marital Rape

November 24, 2011

A lot of arguments have surfaced against the criminalization of marital rape, against considering forced sex between spouses rape, and against its inclusion in the law to protect family violence currently being deliberated in parliament. Nasawiya presented some of these arguments and their rebuttals in order to dispel the myths that continue to plague women’s sexual rights and bodily integrity – whether in law, public perception, or in her power of negotiation in intimate relationships.

Saudi Arabia: Why is No One Protecting Child Brides?

November 8, 2011

Atgaa, 10, and her sister Reemya, 8, are about to be married to men in their 60s. Atgaa will be her husband's fourth wife. Their wedding celebrations are scheduled for this week and will take place in the town of Fayaadah Abban in Qasim, Saudi Arabia.

Bangladesh: Bride Disowns Her 'Dowry Demanding' Husband

November 15, 2011

A top human rights group in Bangladesh has praised a bride who disowned her husband within minutes of their wedding because he demanded a dowry.

Malaysia: Ban on Obedient Wives Club 'Islamic Sex Book'

November 5, 2011

A controversial manual by the head of an Islamic sect that teaches wives obedient and submissive sex faces a ban from the Malaysian government, with those in possession paying a hefty price for it.

DR Congo: Traditional Leaders Roles

November 5, 2011

In the DRC traditional leaders are exclusively men. Traditional leaders existed in the Congo since long ago, with colonialism, after the independence, and even today, they still exist.

WLUML: Statement on Libya

October 25, 2011

WLUML is deeply concerned that the first public act of the Libya's National Transition Committee has been to proclaim on October 23rd, 2011, that henceforth, a number of laws will be considered annulled and that 'sharia law' is to replace them. Libya’s National Transition Committee is an interim government – what it has responsibility for – and what its first action should have concerned, is to put into place a mechanism for elections for the new government after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

Germany: Support & Counselling for Muslim Women in Germany

March 30, 2008

Cologne (WeNews\WFS) – Most of Louise Becker's 12-hour workdays are hidden behind a bright orange door in suburban Cologne, Germany. There she counsels Muslim women through family and marriage problems. The meetings are secret to prevent harassment from the women's husbands, fathers and brothers.

Malaysia: 'Obedient Wives Club' Sex Book a Cheap Stunt, Say Women’s Groups

October 14, 2011

PETALING JAYA: Women's groups have hit out at the Obedient Wives Club' for its “explicit sex book” which called on a Muslim husband to have joint sex with all his spouses.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) acting executive director Ratna Osman called it a “cheap stunt” to get its name in the local and international media spotlight.

She said the group failed to look at the demands of society, which called for gender equality and progress in education.

Egypt: The unclear future of women

September 19, 2011

CAIRO, September 13, 2011‑Egyptian women currently face numerous threats that will not only destroy the goals of equality, freedom and change voiced in the January revolution, but the advances women have made over the last century.

Because Mrs. Mubarak was extremely active in women’s issues, including the advancement of women’s rights, many Egyptians, especially men, equate women’s rights with the former corrupt dictatorship of Hosni Mubara.

China: Marriage law interpretation could leave many divorced women homeless

September 7, 2011

BEIJING — Millions of Chinese women, and some men, woke on Aug. 13 to discover their spouse had, in effect, become their landlord.

On that day, the Supreme Court’s new interpretation of the 1980 Marriage Law came into force, stipulating that property bought before marriage, either outright or on mortgage, reverted to the buyer on divorce. Previously, the family home had been considered joint property. Experts agree the change would mostly affect women, since men traditionally provide the family home.

Nepal Looks Set To Officially Recognize Third Gender

September 9, 2011

FRIDAY FILE: Almost four years after Nepal’s Supreme Court recognized the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, the South Asian country may get a new constitution that secures their rights.[i] By Kathambi Kinoti

Iraq: Fight for Women’s Rights Begins All Over Again

September 13, 2011

BAGHDAD, Sep 13, 2011 (IPS) - When a middle-aged mother took a taxi alone from Baghdad to Nasiriyah, about 300 kilometres south earlier this year, her 20-year-old driver stopped on the way, pulled her to the side of the road and raped her. And that began a telling legal struggle.

"She is not a simple case," says Hanaa Edwar, head of the Iraqi rights-based Al-Amal Association, established in Baghdad after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. 

India: UNICEF report uncovers high prevalence of child marriage in West Bengal

September 10, 2011

Every second girl in the high prevalence child marriage districts of West Bengal were married off before they reach 18, the legal age for girls to get wedded, a UNICEF report said.

Murshidabad (61.04%), Birbhum (58.03%), Malda (56.07%) and Purulia (54.03%) are the districts having such dubious distinction, the report said quoting latest figures.

Though only these four districts have reported over 50 per cent child marriage cases, they are enough to pull the state figure of child marriage to a staggering 53.9 per cent.

Indonesia: Sharia police in Aceh dissolve lesbian marriage

August 25, 2011

Islamic police in the Indonesian province of Aceh have forced two women to have their marriage annulled and sign an agreement to separate.

The women had been legally married for a few months after one of them passed as a man in front of an Islamic cleric who presided over their wedding.

But suspicious neighbours confronted the couple and reported them to police.

The two women are now back with their families, forcibly separated and under surveillance by the Islamic police.

Jordan: Child Bride in Jordan Puts Daughters on Same Path

August 22, 2011

What kind of mothers subject their daughters to drudgery, deny them education and threaten them with early marriage and other human rights abuses? The answer, one family's story suggests, are women who've gone through just that themselves.

AMMAN, Jordan (WOMENSENEWS)--Fawzeya, a 70-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian woman living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, raised her two daughters--now 53 and 47--with an iron hand.

In Afghanistan, Rage at Young Lovers

July 30, 2011

HERAT, Afghanistan — The two teenagers met inside an ice cream factory through darting glances before roll call, murmured hellos as supervisors looked away and, finally, a phone number folded up and tossed discreetly onto the workroom floor.

A car burned by a crowd during a riot that took place after the police rescued two teenagers from a group of men who had demanded that they be hanged or stoned for their relationship.

Saudi Arabia to set minimum marriage age following surge in such weddings

July 25, 2011

Saudi Arabia intends to set a minimum age for girls allowed to marry under a new law intended to curb child marriages following a surge in such a phenomenon in the conservative Gulf Kingdom.

The ministry of justice is working on a regulation banning the marriage of female minors, most of which are forced by their fathers to marry much older men for dowry or other personal purposes, newspapers said.

Dubai - Divorce of Wives by E-Mail or SMS

July 3, 2011

Dubai recorded 555 divorce cases among its Muslim population in 2010 and 150 of them were done by e-mail of mobile phone text messages.

Rigid Coptic Divorce Law Sparks Brawl, Protests

August 4, 2011

CAIRO, Egypt (WOMENSENEWS)--Despite the stigma attached to divorce, ending a marriage is still relatively easy for Muslim women in Egypt. All they have to do is file paperwork with a family court and the deed is done, as long as they're not seeking alimony or damages from their husbands.

For the country's millions of Orthodox Christians, or Copts, it's been nearly impossible since Pope Shenouda III, the head of one of the most conservative churches in Christianity, forbade divorce except in the case of conversion or adultery three years ago.

Curbing Child Marriage in Azerbaijan

July 18, 2011

Two years after Azerbaijan’s parliament promised tougher laws to prevent underage marriage, it took a police raid to stop a man in his thirties marrying a 13-year-old. The officers swooped on a beauty salon in the city of Ganja where the marriage was due to take place last month.

The 13-year-old child bride said she was aware that women cannot legally marry until they are 17, but believed the man, 20 years her senior, was an unmissable catch. “My fiance is a serious guy. They say he’s a businessman,” she said. “My mother saw photographs of his house – it’s large and beautiful.”

India: How fruit trees in Indian village save girls' lives

July 14, 2011

In India, where traditionally boys have been preferred over girls, a village in backward Bihar state has been setting an example by planting trees to celebrate the birth of a girl child. In Dharhara village, Bhagalpur district, families plant a minimum of 10 trees whenever a girl child is born.

And this practice is paying off.

Nikah Kumari, 19, is all set to get married in early June. The would-be groom is a state school teacher chosen by her father, Subhas Singh.

Malaysia: Launch of "the Obedient Wife Club"

June 3, 2011

A group of Malaysian Muslim women say they will fight divorce, domestic violence and other problems -- by appealing to wives to be more obedient, according to one of the organisers.

Egypt: Hunting down the right to love

May 17, 2011


CAIRO, May 17, 2011 (IPS) - Abeer Fakhry, a young Christian woman, had only wanted to live with a man who would love and respect her, and not with her abusive husband. But within months of trying to escape her marriage, and her faith, Abeer finds herself chased by her family, by the Orthodox Christian Church, by the fundamentalist Islamic Salafi Group and, lately, by Egypt’s top army generals.

"I just wanted to be happy," said Abeer, who is now known by her first name, in a Youtube video that made her story famous in this country. 

Kyrgyzstan: Bride Kidnapping - A Tradition Or A Crime?

May 21, 2011


Some 200 people took to the streets in a northern Kyrgyz province earlier this week to protest the longstanding practice of bride kidnapping. 

Saudi Arabia: Female Saudi doctor appeals to top court for right to choose a husband

May 25, 2011


Samia fled to a women's shelter rather than be forced by her male relatives to marry a less educated cousin. Her case illustrates women's growing fight against Saudi Arabia's guardianship system.

Samia is a surgeon who, as she says, is "supposed to be a grandma by now."