The feminist movement has been raging for decades in the United States and is arguably still gaining momentum. While many strides have been made in equal rights in this country, the same cannot be said for many countries around the world, where women’s rights are still controlled. In some cases, women are not even seen as a full person in the court of law and can be punished for being a victim of a crime. Some laws are just bizarre while others are just plain oppressive. Whatever the case may be, here are bizarre and shocking laws against women across the globe.
13 No Right to Equal Inheritance
In Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, daughters inherit significantly less than sons. A Tunisian woman can only inherit half of an estate. If there are two daughters, they can only inherit two-thirds of a will. Once there is a son, the male must inherit twice as much as a female. In the UAE, the man also receives double of what a woman receives.
12 No Protection Against Abduction
In Malta and Lebanon, an abductor can be absolved of his crime if he marries his victim. Similarly, if a marriage takes place after a trial or conviction, the abductor will not have to serve his sentence. In Lebanon, all prosecution stops at the point of marriage and does not resume unless there is a divorce within five years.
11 No Right to Divorce
In the Philippines, it is against the law to get a divorce under any circumstances. They really do believe in “until death do us part” in this Asian nation, which is the last to hold such an antiquated, strict law. One of the only other countries to hold a similar law is the Vatican City, where women can’t vote as well. In Israel, a divorce between Jewish citizens can only be granted after six years if the husband agrees to it.
10 No Right to Work
In Turkey, a woman cannot work without her husband’s permission, and even though divorce is not illegal, the woman must forfeit any joint earnings when they split, leaving the woman with basically nothing and making divorce very unattractive. In Guinea, a woman cannot seek a profession that is separate from her husband without his permission. In Sudan, a husband has the right to “be taken care of and amicably obeyed” and to “have the wife preserve herself and his property.”
9 No Right to Remarry
In Israel, a woman can run into issues of remarriage if she is a widow. A separation ceremony must first be performed by her father-in-law to separate her from her late husband. If he refuses, her marriage prospects are shot as well. Women in Mali can only remarry if they have waited three months post-divorce. In the event of becoming a widow, she must wait four months and 10 days to remarry. If the widow happens to be pregnant, she must wait until after she gives birth.
8 No Right to Her Own Business
Many countries forbid women from working outside of the home without her husband’s permission. For instance, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a woman is under obligation to live wherever her husband decides to live. She cannot make any commitments without permission from her husband, and this permission can be revoked at any time, making it practically impossible for her to do business.
7 No Right to Fashion
In Swaziland, women are literally not allowed to wear pants of any kind. In Iran, if a woman goes out in public without the proper dress, she could be fined or even imprisoned. In Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, even panties are regulated. No underpants with less than 6 percent cotton can be imported, effectively banning lace panties so that a woman’s private parts could “breathe.” This led to a panty protest on Feb. 16, 2014, where women put lace underwear on their heads in protest.
6 No Protection Against Violent Correction
In Nigeria, a husband-wife relationship is more like a teacher-child or master-servant relationship. Hence, it is legal for a husband to be violent with his wife if he is correcting her behavior. Similar laws exist for punishing children and servants. In some cases, adultery is punished by death. In Egypt, both a wife and her adulterant partner can be detained. However, in Syria, it was legal for a man to murder his wife, sister, daughter or mother if he caught them having illegitimate sex without any penalty. As of 2011, the sentence is five to seven years in prison, which is a pittance for murder.
5 No Right to Go Outside
In Yemen, it is not even about having a job; it is about just getting out of the house. In this country, believed by many to be one of the most oppressive toward women, a woman cannot technically leave the house without her husband’s permission. She must obey her husband always, avoid disobedience and do work around the house. On the slim chance, that she has a progressive husband, who allows her to work, they must make sure that the job is in accordance with Islamic law, making allowances for tasks like elder care, only if she is the only possible caregiver.
4 No Right to Hard Labor
In some countries, women are forbidden from doing jobs that would require hard labor. In China, women aren’t allowed in the mines. Madagascar has rules against working in industrial establishments outside of the family. Perhaps the most strict laws are in Russia, where hard, dangerous and unhealthy trades, strictly forbidding 456 kinds of work like carpentry, firefighting, sailing and train operation.
3 No Voice in Court
In Afghanistan, domestic abuse is nearly impossible to prosecute because of a law that forbids relatives of an accused party to testify against them in court. Since most abuse happens in the home or within the family, this makes it easy for abusers to get away with violations of many kind. In Yemen, a woman is not considered to be a full person in court and isn’t usually taken seriously unless a man is backing her. She is not allowed to testify in adultery, theft, sodomy, or libel cases.
2 No Voice in Marriage
In many countries like Guatemala, the marriage age differs for girls and boys. For instance, in this Central American nation, girls can be married at 14, but boys cannot be married until they are 16. The average legal marrying age worldwide is 17 for boys and 16 for girls, but even in European country Estonia has set the marrying age at 15, as long as there is parental approval. This leaves girls particularly vulnerable with many countries practicing arranged child marriage for girls.
1 No Right to Children’s Citizenship
Even in the United States, there are laws that favor men over women. For instance, if a child is born out of wedlock to a foreign-born mother and an American father, the father must write a letter promising financial support for a child’s citizenship to be granted. If a child is already an adult when applying for citizenship, it is only granted if the naturalization process has already taken place for the mother.