Chapter 6: Culture and religion
MetadataShow full item record
This chapter deals with the relationship between gender equality and rights to practice culture and religion. In South Africa this relationship is of crucial importance to women who live according to the rules and principles of customary law and Muslim Personal Law (MPL). Both these groups of women have experienced two sets of problems as a result of the historic non-recognition of their marriages by the civil law. On the one hand, they were unable to access the remedies and enforcement of mechanisms provided by the civil law because their marriages were not recognised, while on the other hand, civil law structures could also not be used effectively to enforce the remedies afforded by MPL and customary law. They were therefore effectively denied legal remedies in the civil law. Because married women are usually economically dependent on husbands, non-recognition protected husbands against financial claims by wives, thus exacerbating existing economic inequalities.