Many women in Bangladesh face poverty after a failed marriage as the result of discriminatory family laws according to a new Human Rights Watch report released on Monday.
According to the report, outdated family laws that do not recognize the rights of women in cases of divorce and abandonment drive women to stay in abusive marriages or live in poverty on their own. The few laws there are in place for protecting women are not enforced in family courts, leaving women with few resources.
While Bangladesh has different personal laws depending on the religion of the individuals, the Muslim, Christian and Hindu laws overlap with each other in places such as stricter qualifications for separation for the woman and eliminating the right to equal marital property.
Human Rights Watch suggested the following measures for reducing the poverty among women in Bangladesh:
– Reform personal laws to remove discrimination on the basis of sex in marital property and rights to a divorce or separation and eliminate polygamy
– Publicize resources available through the law against domestic violence and ensure that they are implemented
– Make sure that family court eliminate unnecessary delays and grants protections in interim periods
– Reinforce and improve existing assistance programs for women such as shelters