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Bangladesh: Discriminatory Family Laws Fuel Female Poverty

The problem:

The separate personal laws for Bangladesh’s Muslims, Hindus, and Christians discriminate in overlapping but distinctive ways. Each erects barriers to divorce and economic equality during marriage and after, and none of the laws provides for women’s equal right to marital property.

And just in case you’re in favor of religious beliefs governing things like marriage and divorce, consider a case like this:

Namrata N., a Hindu, worked in a hospital and gave her life savings to her husband to start a business. He misused the money and turned violent when she demanded he return the funds. Eventually he tricked her into drinking acid, and absconded. With a burned food pipe and stomach, Namrata is dependent on a feeding tube connected to her intestine. She has not eaten in over two years and the smell of food depresses her. Namrata wants to divorce her husband, but cannot under Hindu law in Bangladesh.