Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, gender inequality is a huge issue. But as painful as it is when everyday sexism goes ignored, it's even more horrific when blatant gender inequality is being enforced and perpetuated by those in power. Here are 11 laws that stand in the way of gender equality today.
  1. Democratic Republic of Congo
    In DRC, a law states that the husband is the head of the household, and the wife must obey her husband.
  2. Japan
    According to the Civil Code of Japan, a man is free to marry once he turns 18, but a girl can marry once she turns 16.
  3. Yemen
    In Yemen, wives are required to have “legitimate intercourse” with their husbands when they are “fit to do so”. They are also required to obey, and refrain from leaving their home unless given permission from their husbands.
  4. USA
    In the United States, children born out of wedlock wishing to obtain US citizenship face different conditions, depending on whether they obtain status through the mother or the father. The laws are rather complicated and detailed, but the take away is this: the law intrinsically treats women and men differently. Gender equality is not about giving preference to either gender, hence the word, "equality".
  5. Saudi Arabia
    In Saudi Arabia, a fatwa (Islamic ruling) states that women should not drive because doing so could lead to the removal of the hijab, interactions with men, and “taboo” acts. The government claims there is no law preventing women from driving cars, however Equality Now notes that fatwas have the force of the law in Saudi Arabia.
  6. Chile
    Husbands are responsible for the spouses’ joint property in Chile, as well as property belonging to the wife.
  7. Madagascar
    In Madagascar, the Labor Code states that women are not allowed to be employed at night in any “industrial establishment... except for establishments where the only ones employed therein are members of one same family.”
  8. Russian Federation
    Women are prohibited from doing “heavy work” or working in harmful, dangerous conditions. Equality Now notes that other types of work women may not engage in, include, “ driving trains; operating bulldozers, tractors and trucks; carpenting; plumbing in sewage systems; steelmaking; building and repairing ships; inspecting watercrafts in the fishing industry; frontline firefighting; and working as a professional sailor and aircraft and ship mechanic.”
  9. India
    In India, unless the wife is under 15 years old, sexual acts between a man and his wife cannot be considered rape.
  10. Nigeria
    Husbands are permitted to punish their wives using physical force for the purposes of “correction”, so long as the offense doesn’t result in “grievous hurt.”
  11. Egypt
    Egyptian laws protect honor killings. If the husband catches his wife committing adultery and kills her on the spot, the law states that he will be punished with detention instead of stricter penalties prescribed for other murders.
  12. Read more on Global Citizen
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