"Why Don’t They Change?" Law Reform, Tradition and Widows’ Rights in Ghana


Akoto, Augustina. 2013. “‘Why Don’t They Change?’ Law Reform, Tradition and Widows’ Rights in Ghana.” Feminist Legal Studies 21 (3): 263–79. doi:10.1007/s10691-013-9252-y.

Author: Augustina Akoto


Widows form a sub-set of an already beleaguered gendered minority in societies where law is but one of a competing number of social orders. This can render widows vulnerable and often outside the protection of State law and at the behest of (discriminatory) customary laws. Ghana enacted the Intestate Succession Law 1985 (P.N.D.C.L.111) to grant widows the right to inherit from the estate of the deceased. However, the law has had little impact. Personal narrative analysis was used to ascertain the reasons for this through interviews conducted with widows. Proposals are then made as to how law reform can promote and effect gender equality.

Keywords: gender equality, Ghana, law reform, legal pluralism, Intestacy, Personal narrative analysis

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gender Equality/Inequality, Post-Conflict, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2013

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