Thursday, 5 September 2013

Win For Women In Botswana

Botswana Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a ruling that women could inherit under customary law. This is, of course, great for women in Botswana and, as the article (here) argues, in Southern Africa. I particularly liked this line of argument that goes beyond appealing to modern, constitutional law and suggests the changing nature of customary law, as a system or set of values and should adapt with culture:
Justice Isaac Lesetedi ... wrote that the "Constitutional values of equality before the law, and the increased leveling of the power structures with more and more women heading households and participating with men as equals in the public sphere and increasingly in the private sphere, demonstrate that there is no rational and justifiable basis for sticking to the narrow norms of days gone by when such norms go against current value systems [emphasis added]" 
The kind of approach that respects the value many attach to customary practices and laws, while still requiring that these practices be in line with the evolving values of the peoples whose will they are intended to represent.

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