Journalists in Malawi have been urged to investigate cases of property distribution by courts to understand the impact of the law as it presently stands.
National coordinator of Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Educational Trust-Malawi (Wilsa) Seodi White said on Tuesday the prevailing interpretation of Section 17 of the Married Women Property Act, 1882, is inconsistent with the Constitution, norms in comparative and international law, as well as fundamental principles of human rights.
White was speaking at a one-day workshop for journalists in Blantyre on the legal treatment of womenâ€™s property rights in marriage in Malawi.
â€œWe are of the view, therefore, that judges and magistrates who are presiding over an interpretation of Section 17of the Married Women Property Act, 1882 should have regard to the strong international trend regarding the equal or equitable division of a married coupleâ€™s joint estate and consider, for example, the contributions of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family,â€ she said.
White said recognising womenâ€™s contribution to the family property is consistent with human rights.