When Your Lover Dies

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This book explores key questions about women's rights and gender equality in the wake of political turmoil, demographic dislocation, institutionalized violence and deep economic disparities. These questions focus on the balancing and enforcement of rights, viewed as a secular construct, within societies with deeply entrenched cultural and religious mores, and also examine the competing and sometimes contradictory claims of individual rights on the one hand and community concerns or imperatives on the other. How does a society commence the project of gender equality after a brutal history of conflict, dislocation, dispossession, exclusion, distinction and discrimination? How are the foundations laid, and legal strategies adopted and cultivated? How does a society balance what is perceived as the secular nature of rights enforcement, within a context of deeply entrenched religious mores or customary norms? And, ultimately, why does there persist such subordination, disadvantage, and discrimination despite the existence of constitutional and legal protections for women? Utilizing the South African process of legal transformation as a paradigm, author Penelope Andrews applies this model to Afghanistan, another contemporary context of transformation. These two societies serve as counterpoints through which she engages, in a nuanced and novel way, with the many broader issues that flow from the attempts in newly democratic societies to give effect to the promise of gender equality.

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