Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women

By Eschel M. Rhoodie | Go to book overview

20. Brief Case Studies of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru

Colombia

While Colombia's 1886 Constitution -- as one would expect -- makes adequate provisions for freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion, fair trials, etc., it is completely silent -- as one might also expect -- on women's rights. It was not until the constitutional reform of 1957 (Decree 247) that the Constitution was amended to provide (in Article 1) that "Women shall have the same political rights as men."

Yes, women had been granted the vote in 1954, but that, admittedly, had done little to affect discriminatory treatment in other areas of Colombian life. However, it did give women a political voice, and it is significant that the provisions of Decree 247 of 1957 contained the preamble that "the military junta of the government of the Republic of Colombia (was) interpreting the national opinion expressed in the subscribed accords by the political parties."

Regrettably, this was still far from adequate. Inequality was ingrained in the Colombian Civil Code which, via the Napoleonic Code, closely followed Roman legal sources. The pressure of change continued and became part of the campaign pledges of Alfonso Lopez Michelsen in the presidential race of 1974. After taking office, the new Chief of State promulgated Decree 2820 of 1974, which caused a virtual legal revolution on behalf of women. By examining the status of women (on paper at least) both before and after this decree, one can assess the disability of women in Colombia a scant decade ago and the scope of attempts to achieve equality.

The state of reform was set by the Declaration of Purpose which was to guide the interpretation of Decree 2820. It read:

Despite recent laws concerning the family a great disparity still exists between the law and the actual situation. There is a clear discrimination against women. Because of the limitations of the law in solving family conflicts and in doing justice to women, a grave social situation is being tolerated. // In analyzing the spirit of our legislation we find that it incorporates two attitudes which are particularly harmful to the strength and stability of the family. In the first place, this legislation makes it easy for men to neglect their conjugal obligations, and to preserve discrimination. This results in irresponsible procreation, a high number of extramarital unions and the proliferation of children resulting from these. In the second place, the submission and dependency of women has impeded the development of marital relations on a plane of equality, especially with regard to obligations and rights.

-332-

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Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Part One Introduction 1
  • 1. the Evaluation and Presentation of Data 2
  • 2. the Status of Women: A Global View 13
  • 3. the Environment of Discrimination 34
  • Part Two: Legal and International Aspects 61
  • 4. the International World 62
  • 5. Constitutional and Statutory Differentiation 79
  • Part Three: the African World 99
  • 6. General Survey. 100
  • 7. Case Study: Nigeria 115
  • 8. Case Study: Kenya Introduction 125
  • 9. Case Study: South Africa 136
  • Part Four: the European Community 165
  • 10. General Survey 166
  • 11. Case Study: United Kingdom 191
  • 12. Case Study: France 201
  • 13. Case Study: West Germany 214
  • 14. Case Study: Switzerland 227
  • Part Five: North America 239
  • 15. Case Study: Canada 240
  • Conclusion 247
  • 16 Case Study: The United States 248
  • Part Six: the Communist East Bloc 289
  • 17. General Survey 290
  • 18. Case Study: the Soviet Union 304
  • Part Seven: Latin America 321
  • 19. General Survey 322
  • 20. Brief Case Studies of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru 332
  • Part Eight: the Arab-Muslim World 345
  • 21. General Survey 346
  • 22. Case Study: Egypt 363
  • 23. Case Study: Tunisia 369
  • 24. Case Study: Iran 375
  • Part Nine: the Asian World 383
  • 25. General Survey 384
  • 26. Case Study: India 395
  • 27. Case Study: Japan 402
  • 28. Case Study: the People's Republic of China 417
  • Part Ten: Conclusions, Recommendations, Guide to Data, and Research Proposals 431
  • 29. Summary and Conclusions 432
  • 31. Data: Guide to Information Sources 481
  • 32. Research Proposals 505
  • Notes 519
  • Bibliography 587
  • Index 601
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