Philippines: legal changes needed to address inequality of Muslim women
This article discusses current initiatives in the Philippines to advocate for gender justice in laws and policies, especially in the Philippine Code of Muslim Personal Laws. Muslims in the Philippines bear at least one or more commonly, two minority identities: a national minority identity, which is the "Moro" and a religious minority identity being Muslims. Moros, in turn, are comprised as well of various ethno-linguistic minorities and indigenous groups. The Code of Muslim Personal Laws applies exclusively to them. The Code, however, contains some gender-biased provisions, both textually and as applied. Notwithstanding this, there has been difficulty to change the law, because of unwillingness or inability of the State to confront a legal issue with religious underpinnings. This article argues that equality and justice in the Muslim family is both necessary and possible and must be addressed even at the level of domestic legislation. Regardless of whether a State is Muslim-dominated or has Muslim minorities, human rights instruments oblige them to promote gender rights of Muslim women in their laws and policies.
Photo: Moro women, Jolo, Sulu, Philippine Islands, Unknown date
Credit: Photo used under Creative Commons from John Tewell, http://www.flickr.com/photos/johntewell/5061586004/sizes/m/in/photostream/