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

Latest items for POLY-LAW-1

Aug. 5, 2017, 10:13 a.m.
Countries: Afghanistan
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Men are allowed to marry more than one wife, which can lead to additional tension and problems" (9)
March 7, 2017, 10:54 a.m.
Countries: Gambia
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-3, POLY-LAW-1

"Some ethnic groups practiced polygyny. Women in polygynous unions had problems with property and other rights arising from their marriages. They had the option to divorce but no legal right to disapprove or receive advance notification of subsequent marriages by their husbands" (22).
Jan. 10, 2017, 6:36 p.m.
Countries: Sierra Leone
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-3, PW-LAW-1, POLY-LAW-1

"The Committee is further concerned about the prevalence of polygamous marriages permitted under customary law and the Mohammedan Marriage Act and that property is distributed among the surviving widows of the deceased polygamous husband in proportion to the length of their marriage" (13)
Sept. 24, 2016, 1:28 p.m.
Countries: Libya
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Polygamy, though legal in Libya, is relatively uncommon...Men have the right to repudiate (divorce unilaterally) their wives, but such divorces must be registered with the court to be valid. Women do not have the same right, and can only obtain a divorce under a limited number of conditions (e.g. desertion or lack of financial support), or request a khula divorce and forfeit their dowry. In the case of the latter she may also need to give up custody of her children in exchange for divorce. Divorced women may face social stigma and financial difficulties, particularly if they do not have support from their natal family" (para 7-8)
July 27, 2016, 9:46 p.m.
Countries: South Sudan
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Given the difficulties in attaining a formal divorce, many couples opt to separate informally, which can also create problems for women. While polygamy is legal for men, for women it is not; if a separated woman enters into a new relationship or marries another man this is considered to be adultery (see below). Any children she might have with her new partner will ‘belong’ to her former husband. Other men may thus avoid becoming involved with separated women, as children born to these unions will not be considered to be of their lineage" (5)
April 8, 2016, 4:38 p.m.
Countries: Kyrgyzstan
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-3, PW-DATA-1, POLY-LAW-1

"De facto polygamous marriages have also increased in number. One statistic showed that as many as 70 percent of the men in the south had multiple wives. Polygamy typically takes the form of acquiring a woman over the age of twenty-five as a second wife. The second wife is called the tokol and is married in a religious ceremony conducted by the iman, or Muslim cleric. The tokol has no legal rights under Kygyz law" (para 8)
April 5, 2016, 10:38 p.m.
Countries: Gambia
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Sharia (Islamic law) is applied in marriage, divorce, and inheritance cases for Muslims, who make up more than 90 percent of the population...Marriages often were arranged and, depending on the ethnic group, polygyny was practiced. Women in polygynous unions had problems with property and other rights arising from the marriage" (22)
March 29, 2016, 8:09 p.m.
Countries: Benin
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"The code of persons and the family bans all discrimination against women regarding marriage and provides for the right to equal inheritance. The nationality law, however, discriminates against women...The government and NGOs continued to educate the public on women’s inheritance and property rights and their increased rights in marriage, including prohibitions on forced marriage, child marriage, and polygamy" (16)
June 25, 2015, 3:49 p.m.
Countries: Lebanon
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"When it comes to marriage each sex has to refer to its own religious sect rules (18 sects total). The government does not regulate marriage, so practices vary widely across sects".
April 28, 2015, 4:01 p.m.
Countries: Sierra Leone
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"If there is no will there is a new law (Devolution of Estates Act of 2007) that divvies land and other assets up between wives children and other family members. The most senior wife gets first priority in administering the estate" (para 8)
July 13, 2013, 10:49 a.m.
Countries: Kyrgyzstan
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"A real problem is that since polygyny is illegal, only the first family can inherit if the man dies, leaving subsequent families destitute and without standing."
March 2, 2013, 6:36 p.m.
Countries: Mali
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

“In addition, if the type of marriage was not specified on the marriage certificate, judges presumed the marriage was polygynous” (14)
Jan. 5, 2013, 8:49 p.m.
Countries: Zambia
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"In a polygamous marriage, the widow’s share must be divided proportionally with other wives, based on the length of time each has stayed in the marriage. Property grabbing from widows remained widespread. The courts generally considered property grabbing a criminal offense and mandated up to three years’ imprisonment for these cases. However, most property grabbing cases were decided in local courts, which administer customary law and do not have the power to impose prison sentences. The fines the local courts imposed were low" (18)
Nov. 24, 2012, 12:33 p.m.
Countries: Togo
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"In the case of polygamous marriages, the Personal and Family Code of 31 January 1980 is silent on the legal procedure for administration of property by one of the wives if the husband dies" (64)
Nov. 7, 2012, 10:02 p.m.
Countries: Somalia
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Women did not have the same rights as men and were systematically subordinated. Polygamy was permitted. By law girls and women could inherit only half the amount of property to which their brothers were entitled. Similarly, according to sharia and the local tradition of blood compensation, anyone found guilty of the death of a woman paid to the victim’s family only half the amount required for a male" (Section 6).
Sept. 10, 2012, 2:25 p.m.
Countries: Uganda
Variables: PW-LAW-1, POLY-LAW-1

"Polygamy is legal under both customary and Islamic law, and in some ethnic groups men can “inherit” the widows of their deceased brothers" (Section 6)
June 7, 2011, 11:03 a.m.
Countries: Tajikistan
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-3, POLY-LAW-1

“Unlike many women in Tajikistan, who go through Muslim weddings without registering with the authorities, Aziza was officially married. But she later learned that her husband already had two Afghan wives. When he then died, he left everything to his first wife, now living in Europe, and she and her three children were left destitute” (para 12)
Jan. 19, 2011, 4:51 p.m.
Countries: Cameroon
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"With regard to access to land and resource management, the woman does not inherit as much as her uterine brothers. She has a right to use the resources. Only men are allowed to own land, and in the case of polygamous households, women marrying the same man are called to cultivate the land belonging to their husbands" (Section: Customary norms, religious beliefs and social practices that influence gender-differentiated land rights)
Dec. 3, 2010, 3:58 p.m.
Countries: Zambia
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Intestate/Succession Act of 1989, amended in 1996:_- Gives spouses and children rights of inheritance and supersedes customary law; however, it is not widely known, partly because relatives of the deceased chose to ignore the law. Prior to the adoption of the Act, various customary laws governed inheritance of the estates of those who died intestate [i.e. without leaving a will]. This created hardship, particularly for those married to a spouse from a different ethnic group. Property grabbing was a frequent phenomenon. According to this law, surviving spouses have a life interest in and children inherit most of a deceased personÕs property and estate. Where there is more than one spouse, ...more
Nov. 29, 2010, 2:09 p.m.
Countries: Bahamas
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

ÒPolygamy is not permitted by law.Ó (118)
Nov. 4, 2010, 5:23 p.m.
Countries: Zimbabwe
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"In customary marriages, a woman has a life interest in the matrimonial home, which has to be shared among wives in case of polygamous marriages... In polygamous marriages, each wife keeps the home she was living in at the time of the husband's death, with its household contents. The wives share one-third of the remaining property, with the senior wife getting the largest share and all the children sharing the remaining two-thirds. In cases where the senior wife's house is less valuable than the others or where the remaining estate is too small to share, the children risk ending up with nothing" (Section: Customary Law)
Nov. 3, 2010, 7:57 p.m.
Countries: Mozambique
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Although Article 16, Section 2 of the Family Code formally states that marriage is monogamous, polygamous marriages are widely practised. Moreover, the law does not recognize polygamous marriages, which limits the rights of the second polygamous wives in terms of access to land and natural resources" (Section: Customary Law)
Nov. 3, 2010, 7:54 p.m.
Countries: Tanzania
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Sections 56-58: A married woman has the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property, movable or immovable, during the subsistence of the marriage and the right to distribution of property earned jointly when the relationship is dissolved. Property and other matrimonial assets that a woman has acquired individually belong to her. When there are two or more wives, they all have equal rights. - Section 59: The spouse's consent is mandatory in the division of matrimonial property. Matrimonial property can be divided if the spouses can prove the value they have put in the property. - Section 60: During the marriage, when property is acquired in the name of ...more
Nov. 3, 2010, 7:54 p.m.
Countries: South Africa
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"INHERITANCE/SUCCESSION DE FACTO PRACTICES: 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. - In non-Christian households, polygamy and levirate practices, which compel a widow to marry one of her late husband's brothers, limit women's access to land because women depend on their husbands' land for their survival. - The only right that a widow of a polygamous marriage can claim under customary ...more
Nov. 2, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
Countries: Nigeria
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Almost all ethnic groups practise patrilineal inheritance. Upon a man's death, land may be divided among his male heirs or passed down solely to the eldest son, depending on the community practice. If a man has multiple wives, his land is divided equally among the wives and passed down to their sons. Women rarely inherit land, usually only if there are no male heirs. Inheritance is by far the most common mode of land acquisition among rural people" (Section: Customary Law)
Oct. 29, 2010, 2:20 p.m.
Countries: Namibia
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"CUSTOMARY NORMS, RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND SOCIAL PRACTICES THAT INFLUENCE GENDER-DIFFERENTIATED LAND RIGHTS:... Customary marriages in most communities are potentially polygamous and not registered. These marriages are regulated primarily by unwritten customary laws that differ from community to community. For example, in Herero communities, civil marriages are usually technically in community of property, while husband and wife have separate movable property in terms of customary law. It is not uncommon, in regions other than the Caprivi, for a couple to marry in terms of both civil and customary law and to rely upon different legal and social norms, depending on the situation at hand. It also occurs that a man is ...more
Oct. 21, 2010, 8:21 p.m.
Countries: Uganda
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"There is an overlap between customary practices and Sharia law; as a consequence, women inherit even less. Women inherit less also because of the phenomenon of polygamy since the co-wives have to share. According to the Koran, only one-third of a deceased's estate can be included in a will. The remaining two-thirds are distributed under intestacy rules laid down in the Koran, which have fixed the shares allocated to heirs. Persons recognized as heirs include the widow or widower, father, mother and children. Grandparents will only inherit when the heirs in the nuclear family cannot inherit. In general, a male under the Koran takes double the share of the female. ...more
Oct. 14, 2010, 6:24 p.m.
Countries: Kenya
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Muslims are exempt from the Law of Succession Act, and follow Islamic law. The Quran recognises both testamentary and intestate succession. However, only 1/3 of a deceased's estate can be included in a will. The remaining 2/3 is distributed under intestacy rules laid down in the Quran, which has fixed the shares allocated to heirs. Heirs include the widow or widower, father, mother and children. Grandparents inherit when the heirs in the nuclear family cannot inherit. In general, a man under the Quran takes double the share of a woman. Sons take two times the share of daughters. If there are two or more daughters, their share is 2/3 of ...more
Sept. 28, 2010, 12:21 p.m.
Countries: Tajikistan
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Despite the fact that cohabitation with two or more women in the same household is criminally punishable by Article 170 of the Criminal Code, in practice, bigamy and polygamy are not rare. Hence, the rights of second and third wives are not protected" (para 4)
Sept. 28, 2010, 11:45 a.m.
Countries: Kyrgyzstan
Variables: POLY-LAW-1

"Polygamous marriages have increased since independence. Polygamy typically takes the form of acquiring a woman over the age of 25 as a second wife by means of a religious ceremony by a Muslim cleric. The second wife has no legal rights under statutory law" (para 4)