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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Family law reform in Mali: contentious debates and elusive outcomes
Author:Soares, Benjamin F.ISNI
Book title:Gender and Islam in Africa: rights, sexuality, and law
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:family law
legal reform
women's rights
Abstract:This chapter is concerned with understanding recent efforts to reform the laws in the Republic of Mali governing marriage and inheritance, what is usually referred to as the 'code de famille', that is, the family code. Since the political liberalization of the early 1990s, there has been an impetus for various social reforms in Mali, coming both from within the country and from the international community. An important centrepiece of such reforms has been the advancement of women's rights. Despite these efforts, the proposed reforms have not been made into law. Though some have attributed the lack of reform of the family code to the increased influence of 'islamists', the present author draws on historical research and some recent ethnography to propose an alternative reading of the lack of institutional reform in Mali. He argues that the wide gap between Malian civil law relating to the family and the lived experiences and social practices of many Malians, who are overwhelmingly Muslim, has become even more apparent in this era of political liberalization. This has made the proposed social reforms for the advancement of women's rights even more contentious. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]