Establishing the extent of the right to equality between men and women in polygamous marriages in Uganda: a case study of Iganga district
Mwanga, Mastullah Ashah
MetadataShow full item record
The study sought to investigate women’s right to equality with men in polygamous marriages especially since the making of the 1995 constitution of the republic of Uganda that spelled out the right to equality in marriage. It concentrated on the right to equality of women and men in polygamous marriages and how this right is violated and the study took Iganga district as its case study. To achieve this general objective, the researcher aimed at achieving three objectives for this study. Data on these objectives was collected; analyzed and presented in the previous chapter. This report studies polygyny (one man married to multiple wives) as practiced in Uganda generally and Iganga District in particular. The analysis of equality of man and woman in marriage was based on the contribution of the wife to family income, freedom of expression of the woman, communication at home, sexual relations, roles of the husband and wife and the opportunity of separation or divorce. Women must be included as part of the development process and have decision‐making power in reforming the inequalities that burden their roles within society. In the literature review, the researcher found that equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken. After an analysis of the findings, the researcher made quite a number of recommendations among which; Drafters should consider prefacing laws prohibiting polygamy with the international legal obligations, as well as policy arguments, requiring states to modify such practices. Article 5(a) of CEDAW obligates States Parties to “modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.” Both the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women have found that polygamous marriages discriminate against women and recommend their prohibition. The practice of polygamy violates Article 3 of the ICCPR, guaranteeing equal rights for women and men, violates a woman’s right to equality in marriage, and has severe financial effects on her and her children. CEDAW, Gen. Rec. 21, Para. 14, Gen. Rec. 29. Moreover, polygamy places women and girls at greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS when their husband has multiple sexual partners, and they have less power to negotiate safe sex. It also risks excluding additional wives from asserting their marital and inheritance rights.