Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation


Maranao woman activist speaks on gender and inequality


Some of the participants from the Philippines with us today, especially non-Muslims, may be surprised that early marriage, divorce and polygamy is allowed in their own country when majority of the Filipinos are not allowed to do this. This is because it is allowed by the Philippine law through the Code of Muslim Personal Laws that Muslims-Filipinos can do these legally. Perhaps they call this religious tolerance and respect for differences. I call it culturally-justified violence committed not only by Muslim and government leaders in our country. This is another form of inequality both for the Muslims and non-Muslims in our country.

A Child Marriage Stopped in Its Tracks


Kadidiatou Baldé , a 14 year old girl from Dinguiraye village in Senegal, was in fifth grade when her parents announced that she was to be married to a 24 year old man from the local area in April this year. Kadidiatou was disadvantaged by the fact that her father is dead and her mother and uncles, who she lives with, are poor. So when the man asked to marry her, her family accepted as the man comes from a wealthy family and has plans to migrate to Europe. Nonetheless, Kadidiatou was by no means content with the plans made for her; she was a bright student who wished most of all to continue her education.

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