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

Latest items for PW-LAW-1

Aug. 3, 2021, 11:58 a.m.
Countries: Egypt
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"About 50 women’s organisations in Egypt have published a statement laying out basic principles regarding women’s legal rights amid growing controversy over a proposed bill to amend the country’s personal status law[...]Regarding marriage, the statement said the law should ensure that divorce is legalised only through a judge and that polygamy be allowed only through a judge’s authorisation following permission from a man’s first wife.The main articles that have been welcomed by rights groups include amendments that reportedly call for imposing a hefty fine and up to a year in prison on a man if he marries more than one wife at a time, and does so without notifying his...more
July 9, 2021, 1:38 p.m.
Countries: Kenya
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-3, PW-LAW-1

"The law codifies the right of men to enter into consensual marriage with additional women without securing the consent of any existing wife" (p 35).
July 9, 2021, 11:47 a.m.
Countries: Qatar
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Islamic polygamy is permitted"(para 42).
July 1, 2021, 2:21 p.m.
Countries: South Africa
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy itself is nothing new to South Africa – but the system is entirely skewed in favour of patriarchal figures. Men are allowed, even encouraged in some cultures, to take several wives. But doing things the other way round remains illegal. That could change very, very soon though. Home Affairs have introduced a new Green Paper for the Marriage Act, which would elevate polyandry to the same legal status as its historical equivalent. The bill is expected to pass in the National Assembly, but Al-Jama’ah – who hold one seat in Parliament – won’t let that happen without a fight" (para 2-3).
June 17, 2021, 10:05 p.m.
Countries: Nepal
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"According to the law of Nepal, after marriage, if a wife is abandoned, cruelly treated, or husband brought or kept another female, the first wife is entitled to share couple’s half property. For men, if his wife is suffering from incurable venereal disease such as insane, paralyzed, goes blind, fail to give birth within 10 years of marriage or agreed to live separately by taking shared property, in such a case, women are not allowed to divorce but Men are allowed to marry a second time" (para 3).
June 17, 2021, 9:57 p.m.
Countries: Turkmenistan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy is already formally banned and punishable by up to two years of corrective labour in ex-Soviet Turkmenistan... A new amendment to the family code passed by parliament and published in the state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan on Tuesday seemed aimed at clearing up any ambiguity. It stated that polygamy 'refers to cohabitation with two or more women at the same time' and stressed that this was 'not permitted' in the republic" (para 2, 4-5).
June 16, 2021, 9:51 p.m.
Countries: Turkmenistan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy is prohibited by law, and the legal framework does not provide for polygamous marriages under civil nor customary law. However, it remains a widespread practice (CEDAW, 2012). CEDAW expressed concern over the lack of legal provisions to address de facto unions, as it denies women redress or legal course of action in cases of separation or against husbands who take another wife (CEDAW, 2012)" (3).
June 16, 2021, 9:42 p.m.
Countries: Turkmenistan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"On June 19, the government’s newspaper 'Neutral Turkmenistan' reported on amendments and additions to the existing Family code of the country. In particular, the amendments to the seventh article of the code prohibit polygamy and will officially come into force on 1 September 2018" (73).
June 16, 2021, 9:24 p.m.
Countries: United Kingdom
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Legal recognition In order to be recognised as legally valid, all marriages which take place in the United Kingdom must be monogamous and must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the relevant legislation. For a polygamous marriage to be considered valid in the UK, the parties must be domiciled in a country where polygamous marriage is permitted and must have entered into the marriage in a country which permits polygamy. There is some anecdotal evidence of people entering into polygamous marriage in the UK through religious ceremonies that are not registered by the state and are not recognised under UK law. Calls have been made for all...more
June 16, 2021, 9:08 p.m.
Countries: Uzbekistan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"While polygamy is illegal in Uzbekistan, the traditional practice is defended by supporters of Islamic law" (para 8).
May 26, 2021, 4:38 p.m.
Countries: Taiwan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"In a likely response to widespread misinformation that legalized same-sex marriage would also allow polygamy, bestiality, and incest, among other already illegal deviances, Ministry of Justice Director of Legal Affairs Chung Jui-lan (鍾瑞蘭) enumerated a list of acts which are still illegal under the draft bill. 'Polygamy, or multiple marriages, are also prohibited,' she said. 'That is, if you’re already in a same-sex marriage, you can’t establish another same-sex marriage with someone else, nor can you establish a heterosexual marriage.'"
May 25, 2021, 6:20 p.m.
Countries: Belize, Haiti, Suriname
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Belize, Suriname, and Haiti are the only states in the Americas that have laws, customary or civil, that permit or at least tolerate polygamy" (8).
May 24, 2021, 11:35 p.m.
Countries: Sri Lanka
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"The Cabinet has closed the doors for polygamy that prevailed under the Muslim Marriage laws" (para 2).
May 24, 2021, 10:15 p.m.
Countries: South Korea
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-2, PW-LAW-1

"The Seoul Administrative Court ruled Tuesday that the Ministry of Justice can revoke the South Korean citizenship granted to a foreign immigrant if it finds the person married to more than one spouse—whether by legal marriage or common law marriage—even after granting citizenship. A man obtained South Korean citizenship in 2014 after marrying a Korean national in 2004. But upon learning of the man’s common law marriage in his home country in 2009, the Justice Ministry canceled his Korean citizenship because the man had 'unlawfully' gained South Korean citizenship. Bigamy is illegal in South Korea. The man disagreed, saying he had not done anything illegal because his country recognizes polygamy,...more
May 22, 2021, 10:39 p.m.
Countries: Russia
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy is illegal under Russian federal law. However, it remains permissible in traditional practice for Chechen men. In these circumstances and considering Russian Family Law does not permit the registration of an official partnership, the reassurance of the Chechen leader Mr Kadyrov that all legal norms, religious practices and local traditions had been observed in the case 17-year-old school girl and police chief are irrelevant and lead to the inevitable conclusion that the marriage in question is invalid. This in turn effectively means that the ‘wife’ has no legal rights to seek support from her ‘husband’ or to claim any joint property of the parties or to inherit after her...more
May 18, 2021, 6:12 p.m.
Countries: Norway
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Many people think it is inconceivable that polygamy occurs in Norway because it is illegal here, says Bojang to Our Country. Those who enter into a polygamous marriage can avoid Norwegian law by by marrying extrajudicially in a place of worship under the religious laws of one of the religions that allows for polygamy. This means that they then can be legally married to one wife, while they are religiously married to one or more others" (para 2-3).
May 18, 2021, 5:28 p.m.
Countries: Niger
Variables: PW-LAW-1

Polygamous marriages recognised by customary law and/or religious practices.
May 18, 2021, 12:47 a.m.
Countries: New Zealand
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Multiple marriages are not recognised under the Social Security Act and should such a circumstance arise where a person applied for a benefit with multiple 'wives', the Ministry would only be able to treat one wife as being married to the man (or to be living in a relationship in the nature of marriage with the man) at any one time. As such the other 'wives' would be regarded for benefit purposes as being either single or sole parents, depending on their individual circumstances" (para 5).
May 18, 2021, 12:30 a.m.
Countries: Netherlands
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"In the Netherlands bigamy is prohibited, which means it is illegal for someone who is already married to enter another marriage. This prohibition also applies to foreigners who marry in Belgium, even if their national law permits polygamy. In the Netherlands bigamy is considered a criminal offense" (para 3).
May 18, 2021, 12:10 a.m.
Countries: Nepal
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy has been illegal since 1963, but it has taken time for the law to change behavior, especially in rural areas (Deuba and Rana 2001). In this setting, polygamy allows a husband to remarry without dissolving his first marriage, but a wife does not have this option. In some cases, separation may be a more desirable option than divorce for a woman, as it can allow for continued support from her husband and his family" (para 8).
May 15, 2021, 12:15 a.m.
Countries: Nepal
Variables: PW-PRACTICE-3, PW-LAW-1

"If a draft of the Criminal Code revised by a parliamentary panel is endorsed by the full House, a polygamous man or a polyandrous woman could get a jail term of up to five years and a fine of Rs 50,000. Removing the existing six grounds for a man to get married for a second time, the revised bill has proposed criminalizing polygamy or polyandry except in the case when one of the couple is already separated and has received his or her share of the ancestral property. Section 175 of the bill has also proposed punishment for a woman if she is found to have married a man knowing...more
May 14, 2021, 10:35 p.m.
Countries: Namibia
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"While polygamous marriages are not recognized as legal under civil marriage laws of Namibia, a bill was successfully passed in 2003, based on the model in South Africa, which recognises polygamous marriages under customary law, providing a large amount of benefits to polygamous unions, ranging from inheritance rights custody of children" (para 1).
May 13, 2021, 9:50 p.m.
Countries: Mozambique
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"So, how has the Family Law Statute balanced polygyny and women's rights? The starting point in attempt to answer this question is the definition of the marriage. The Family Law Statute defines a marriage as 'a relationship between two persons of the opposite sex'. This definition clearly prohibits polygamy since only two persons of the opposite sex are allowed to marry. Commentators have thus welcomed the Family Law Statute 'as a first step to ensure equality of spouses in marriage'. The definition of marriage therefore complies with the international approach of prohibiting polygyny to address women's rights violation. However, the fact that polygyny is not implicitly prohibited in the Family...more
May 13, 2021, 8:10 p.m.
Countries: Mozambique
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Although polygamy is prohibited in Mozambique there is no punishment" (para 22).
May 13, 2021, 7:45 p.m.
Countries: Malawi
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy, which is prohibited with regard to statutory marriages under the current Marriage Act, remains so under the new legislation. (Id. § 18.) The only difference is that the new legislation increases the penalty for violation of this ban. Under the existing Marriage Act, bigamy is punishable with five years in prison. (Marriage Act of 1903, § 43, IV LAWS OF MALAWI, Cap. 25:01 (rev. ed., 2010).) Under the new legislation, this act will be punishable, on conviction, by a five-year prison term and a fine of MWK100 thousand (about US$220). (Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill, § 51.) It appears that polygamy will continue to be legal with regard...more
May 13, 2021, 7:31 p.m.
Countries: Madagascar
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy was not defined as a crime under the law" (para 19).
May 3, 2021, 7:10 p.m.
Countries: Jordan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy: no constraints aside from classical injunctions that a man must treat all co-wives equitably and provide them with separate dwellings; man must declare his social status in marriage contract" (para 8).
May 3, 2021, 6:49 p.m.
Countries: Tunisia
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy has become increasingly uncommon in much of the Muslim world. Tunisia was the first predominantly Muslim country to abolish the practice in 1956" (para 13).
April 30, 2021, 4:34 p.m.
Countries: Jordan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"Polygamy is legal for Muslim men according to Jordanian law. The Embassy can neither stop a man from taking a second, third, or fourth wife in Jordan, nor can it get such marriages dissolved. While such marriages will not be recognized by the U.S. government and are not valid for immigration benefits, they are legal in Jordan" (para 6).
April 30, 2021, 4:21 p.m.
Countries: Kyrgyzstan
Variables: PW-LAW-1

"According to the Kyrgyz constitution, polygamy - the practice of marrying more than one woman - is restricted in the central Asian country of approximately six million citizens, most of whom are Turkic-speaking Muslims" (para 4).