The most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of
women in the world.

Latest items for IW-PRACTICE-1

July 17, 2019, 2:14 p.m.
Countries: Cameroon
Variables: WR-PRACTICE-1, IW-PRACTICE-1

"Widows were sometimes forcibly married to one of the deceased husband’s relatives to secure continued use of property left by the husband, including the marital home. To protect women, including widows, better, the government included provisions in the 2016 penal code addressing the eviction of one spouse from the marital home by any person other than the other spouse" (Pg 26).
July 8, 2019, 1:19 p.m.
Countries: Uganda
Variables: CWC-DATA-2, IW-PRACTICE-1, IW-LAW-1, ATDW-PRACTICE-2, CUST-LAW-1, IAW-PRACTICE-1, IAD-PRACTICE-1, DSFMF-PRACTICE-2, PW-LAW-1

"The law provides women with the same legal status and rights as men. Discrimination against women, however, was widespread, especially in rural areas. Many customary laws discriminate against women in adoption, marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Under local customary law in many areas, women may not own or inherit property or retain custody of their children. Traditional divorce law in many areas requires women to meet stricter evidentiary standards than men to prove adultery. Polygyny is legal under both customary and Islamic law. In some ethnic groups, men may “inherit” the widows of their deceased brothers" (Pg 29).
June 25, 2019, 7:13 a.m.
Countries: Sierra Leone
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"A woman was frequently perceived to be the property of her husband, to be inherited on his death with his other property" (Pg 20).
June 14, 2019, 2:55 p.m.
Countries: Nigeria
Variables: IIP-PRACTICE-1, WR-PRACTICE-2, IW-PRACTICE-1, IW-LAW-1

"Despite the new federal law, purdah, the cultural practice of secluding women and pubescent girls from unrelated men, continued in various parts of the North. In some parts of the country, widows experienced unfavorable conditions as a result of discriminatory traditional customs. “Confinement,” which occurred predominantly in the Northeast, remained the most common rite of deprivation for widows. Confined widows stayed under social restrictions for as long as one year and usually shaved their heads and dressed in black as part of a culturally mandated mourning period. In other areas communities viewed a widow as a part of her husband’s property to be “inherited” by his family. In some traditional...more
June 13, 2019, 8:03 a.m.
Countries: Zambia
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"The practice of 'sexual cleansing,' in which a widow is compelled to have sexual relations with her late husband’s relatives as part of a cleansing ritual, continued to decline. The penal code prohibits 'sexual cleansing' of girls under age 16" (p. 18).
April 25, 2019, 8:30 a.m.
Countries: Zimbabwe
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Widows, when forced to relocate to rural areas, were sometimes 'inherited' into marriages with an in-law after the deaths of their spouses" (36).
March 29, 2019, 5:33 p.m.
Countries: Malawi
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"The Gender Equality Act of 2013 prohibits certain harmful traditional practices, including 'widow cleansing' and 'widow inheritance.' Nonetheless, in some areas widows were sometimes forced to have sex with male in-laws or a designee as part of a culturally mandated 'sexual cleansing' ritual following the death of the husband. In some cases widows were 'inherited' by a brother-in-law or other male relative" (para 86). "Widows often were victims of discriminatory and illegal inheritance practices in which most of an estate was taken by the deceased husband’s family" (para 92). ""The law provides for a minimum level of child support, widows’ rights, and maternity leave; however, only women employed in the...more
Feb. 11, 2019, 7:11 p.m.
Countries: Senegal
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Under customary law, women retain lifelong minority status. They are under their father’s authority; when married they become the ward of their husband; and upon the death of their spouse, they are inherited by a male relative, or remain under the care of their son. Many of Senegal’s ethnic groups still practice widow inheritance under customary law" (104)
Jan. 28, 2019, 9:21 p.m.
Countries: South Africa
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1, IAW-PRACTICE-1, IAD-PRACTICE-1

"The customary tenure system uses patrilineal transfer of land ownership. In patrilineal societies, inheritance and descent are traced through the father’s lineage and property devolves along the male line, to the exclusion of women. The male heir is responsible for maintaining and caring for the estate and its dependants: namely, the widow and the children" (para 15-16)
Sept. 4, 2018, 11:28 a.m.
Countries: Zimbabwe
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Widows, when forced to relocate to rural areas, were sometimes 'inherited' into marriages with an in-law after the deaths of their spouses" (35).
Sept. 4, 2018, 10:21 a.m.
Countries: Malawi
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Nonetheless, in a few isolated areas, widows were sometimes forced to have sex with male in-laws or a designee as part of a culturally mandated 'sexual cleansing' ritual following the death of the husband. In some cases widows were “inherited” by a brother-in-law or other male relative. The government and NGOs continued efforts to abolish such practices by raising awareness concerning the inherent dangers of such behavior, including the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission" (16).
Aug. 28, 2018, 10:03 a.m.
Countries: Mali
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"The Committee expresses concern that harmful practices, such as child and forced marriage, polygamy, female genital mutilation and other forms of excision, humiliating and degrading widowhood practices, force-feeding, levirate and sororate, remain prevalent and unpunished in the State party" (page 6) (Coder comment: Levirate is the requirement of marriage of a man to his brother's widow; Sororate is the custom of a man marrying his deceased wife's sister - ARR).
June 28, 2018, 4:51 p.m.
Countries: Tanzania
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"The high prevalence of harmful practices, including . . . 'widow cleansing', widow inheritance . . . " (page 5).
May 29, 2018, 3:28 p.m.
Countries: Afghanistan
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

This article indicates that widows in Afghanistan are typically married to their dead husband's brothers. The woman in this story, Khadijah, was married to three of the brothers in the same family. After her first husband died, she married the next youngest brother, and after he died, she married the next brother. "Their Pashtun society considers it the duty of brothers to marry their brothers' widows--and leaves those widows with little choice but to obey, or lose their children and their homes."
March 21, 2018, 5:20 p.m.
Countries: Namibia
Variables: SEGI-PRACTICE-1, IW-PRACTICE-1, DMW-PRACTICE-1, DMW-PRACTICE-2, PW-PRACTICE-3

"The Committee is concerned at the persistence of harmful practices, as well as discriminatory stereotypes and deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society. The Committee is particularly concerned at the lack of data on the extent of harmful practices such as widow inheritance, sexual initiation practices and polygamy. The Committee recalls its previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/NAM/CO/3, paras. 16 and 17) and notes that the State party has not yet conducted a study on the extent of and prevalence of traditional harmful practices and on the impact of the implementation of the Traditional Authorities Act (No. 25 of 2000) and...more
March 20, 2018, 1:29 p.m.
Countries: Gambia
Variables: MARR-PRACTICE-1, IW-PRACTICE-1

"The Committee is deeply concerned about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society. It also remains concerned about the very high prevalence of harmful practices, in particular female genital mutilation, child marriage, polygamy and levirate, and the fact that they are not prohibited by law. The Committee urges the State party: (a) To adopt legal provisions explicitly prohibiting harmful practices, such as polygamy, child marriage, female genital mutilation, levirate and unequal inheritance rights for women, provide for adequate sanctions and ensure the effective implementation of the provisions; (b) To expeditiously adopt a comprehensive strategy...more
March 14, 2018, 6:54 p.m.
Countries: Senegal
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"The Committee welcomes the adoption of Law No. 99-05 of 29 January 1999 criminalizing female genital mutilation and of a second national action plan to accelerate the elimination female genital mutilation (2010-2015), as well as the measures taken to raise public awareness of harmful practices. It is concerned, however, at the persistence of adverse cultural norms, practices and traditions as well as patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles, responsibilities and identities of women and men in the family and society. It notes that stereotypes contribute to the persistence of violence against women as well as harmful practices, including female genital mutilation, levirate and sororate, child marriage, polygamy, repudiation,...more
Dec. 15, 2017, 10:34 a.m.
Countries: Zimbabwe
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"The dispossession of old women continues despite laws that, on paper, protect them from predatory in-laws . This is thanks to two quirks in Zimbabwe’s legal system. The first is a hangover from a tradition of 'wife inheritance' or 'kugara nhaka' whereby, in some parts of Zimbabwe, a widow (and thus all her property) is inherited by her husband’s brother. (This custom helped HIV spread like wildfire.) Although wives are no longer handed over these days, their homes and property still are" (para 5-6).
Dec. 13, 2017, 10:58 p.m.
Countries: India
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"He says the women have no rights, including when it comes to inheritance. "I'm yet to see a case where they have legally inherited some land in their name. They are not accepted as a member of the family," he says" (para 21-22).
March 28, 2017, 1:47 p.m.
Countries: Guinea-Bissau
Variables: WR-PRACTICE-1, IW-PRACTICE-1

"Widows are required to marry the brothers of their late husbands so that they can remain in the same household group and ensure that their chil-dren are being provided for" (526).
March 14, 2017, 9:58 a.m.
Countries: Malawi
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1, ABO-PRACTICE-1

"Why would people pay a man to have sex with young girls and women? According to Stewart, the practice is viewed as a way to ritually cleanse girls after their first period, usually within a three-day window. Some families tell girls they will get infections if they don't have sex with a 'hyena', says Stewart. But it also happens in other life stages too - after an abortion or when a woman becomes a widow" (para 6-8).
Feb. 23, 2017, 9:45 a.m.
Countries: Equatorial Guinea
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Although not widespread, levirate marriage, the practice by which a man may be required to marry his brother’s widow, resulted in discrimination against women and girls" (22).
Feb. 9, 2017, 3:40 p.m.
Countries: Sierra Leone
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"In Sierra Leone, women were encouraged [after their husbands' deaths] to wash stones instead of corpses during the Ebola outbreak to avoid spreading the virus" (para 28).
Feb. 9, 2017, 3:40 p.m.
Countries: Zimbabwe
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Rather than having sex with a relative of her late husband, many widows in Zimbabwe offer a bowl of water if they want to stay with the family" (para 27).
Feb. 9, 2017, 3:38 p.m.
Countries: Cameroon
Variables: WR-PRACTICE-1, IW-PRACTICE-1

"When Clarisse's husband died of malaria last year in the Cameroonian city of Douala, she was kicked out of their home by his family and forced to marry his brother" (para 1).
Feb. 8, 2017, 2:41 p.m.
Countries: Cote D'Ivoire
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Societal violence against women included traditional practices, such as dowry deaths (the killing of brides over dowry disputes), levirate (forcing a widow to marry her dead husband’s brother), and sororate (forcing a woman to marry her dead sister’s husband)" (21).
Feb. 1, 2017, 5:29 p.m.
Countries: Malawi
Variables: WR-PRACTICE-2, IW-PRACTICE-1

"Aniva is by all accounts the pre-eminent 'hyena' in this village. It's a traditional title given to a man hired by communities in several remote parts of southern Malawi to provide what's called sexual 'cleansing'. If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with Aniva before she can bury him. If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required" (para 3). "In Malawi's central Dedza district, hyenas are only ever used to initiate widows or infertile women" (para 22).
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:54 a.m.
Countries: Cameroon
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Widows were also sometimes forcibly married to one of the deceased husband’s relatives" (31).
Dec. 29, 2016, 12:13 p.m.
Countries: Burkina Faso
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1, IAW-PRACTICE-1

"Many citizens, particularly in rural areas, held to traditional beliefs that did not recognize inheritance rights for women and regarded a woman as property that could be inherited upon her husband’s death" (20).
Nov. 30, 2016, 8:42 p.m.
Countries: Mali
Variables: IW-PRACTICE-1

"Mali regards the following 16 practices as harmful to the health of women and children...Levirate and sororate marriages" (35).