In a statement issued to mark the United Nations International Day of Rural Women on 15 October, a number of civil society organisations have called on African governments to end discrimination against rural women, particularly in women’s access to traditional leadership roles and inheritance rights.
Organisations based in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa say that a number of countries in Africa deny women the ability to become chiefs solely on the basis of their gender, whether in terms of law or practice. Similarly, a number of countries deny women equal access to inheritance. These discriminatory laws and practices tend to have a greater impact on rural women leaving them vulnerable to poverty and reinforcing women’s secondary status to men within their communities.
The organisations say that while some countries, such as Botswana have made strides in eliminating these types of discrimination others, such as Lesotho, continue to justify discrimination in these contexts despite constitutional guarantees of gender equality. Such forms of discrimination are not only contrary to national laws, but also to human rights principles in international treaties which these countries have voluntarily agreed to abide by.
“The International Day of Rural Women celebrates the important roles that women play in rural communities in development, food security, and supporting their communities. The time has come for African governments to eradicate discriminatory laws and practices that disempower women in fulfilling these roles on equal footing with men,” says Muluka Miti-Drummond, the Regional Advocacy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, one of the signatory organisations.
What: Civil society calls for an end to discrimination against women on International Day of Rural Women.
When: Wednesday 15 October 2014
Issued by: The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
For more information:
Priti Patel, Deputy Director, SALC: +27 (0)10 596 8538 (o); +27 76 808 0505 (m); firstname.lastname@example.org
Muluka Miti-Drummond, Regional Advocacy Director, SALC, +27 (0)10 596 8538 (o); email@example.com
Annabel Raw, Project Lawyer, SALC: +27 (0)10 596 8538 (o); firstname.lastname@example.org