What is the point of having women make up half of Parliament, if they vote for laws that put girls and women right back into the 19th century? This is happening today in Mozambique.
In April, the country's lawmakers will debate and approve the review of the new Penal Code, provisionally approved in December 2012. The revision is long overdue and welcome: finally, Mozambique is getting rid of the colonial Penal Code in use, which dates from 1886. That makes it 127 years old. By MERCEDES SAYAGUES.
The world has advanced in giant leaps in terms of human rights in the last 127 years. The laws of a young country should reflect these changes. Most stuff in the new, revised version is wise - but, surprisingly, unaccountably, some of the old laws are maintained, laws that severely infringe on the constitutional rights, the human rights and the dignity of Mozambican girls and women.
Consider the facts:
Of the 250 members of Parliament, 98 are women, or 40 percent. Both Frelimo and Renamo, the ruling party and the opposition, have lots of women MPs.
Mozambique ranks 14 among 145 countries in terms of women in Parliament. In Africa, only South Africa ...