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

By Eschel M. Rhoodie | Go to book overview

5. Constitutional and Statutory Differentiation

Legal differentiation between men and women, i.e, distinctions which may contain prescriptions discriminating against women, or protecting the other sex, are found on many levels. There are, first of all, the provisions of the constitution of a state. In more than 96 constitutions of the world, provisions are made either to assist, protect, or to provide for women. The effect, however, often ends up as de facto discrimination, limiting women's political representation or their right to equal opportunity.

On another level are measures which many governments have promulgated, enacted and decreed as law and which do discriminate against women and inhibit their social, political and economic advancement. In this regard one can also refer to the absence of laws to protect women or to provide for equal opportunities with men.

On a third level there are the laws passed by autonomous regions within a federal structure, for example in India, the United States, Australia or Canada, enabling one state to pass discriminatory measures not existing either in the state right next door or in federal legislation.

Finally there is the vast field of de facto discrimination and the gap which exists between the objectives stated in the constitution, or in national legislation, and the conditions which exist in the marketplace.


Equality on Paper

There are now 166 recognized nation-states in the world, of which 159 have traditional, one-document, or entrenched constitutions. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Israel have a number of basic, organic acts and laws which, collectively, serve as their constitutions. Some countries have no consititutions, such as Bhutan. 1

Constitutions provide a basic expression of the values and goals of society. They are extremely important documents fulfilling important functions. A conventional definition is that they are the framework which structures the assemblage of laws, institutions and customs which govern a nation. But a constitution is also an ideological manifesto, indicating national purpose, the formulation of the rights of its citizens. The general function of a constitution is to contain important legal pronouncements converting power into law, setting up state institutions and providing indications of how legal and political problems should be solved. 2

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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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