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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Woman is king, man a mere child: some notes on the socio-legal position of women among the Anufom in northern Togo
Author:Baerends, E.A.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Geographic term:Togo
customary law
family law
Abstract:This article analyses some aspects of the sociolegal position of women among the Anufom of northern Togo. It is based on data collected during fieldwork carried out in 1969-1972 and 1977-1978. The author first notes the danger that unwritten customary laws may render women's rights invisible because of the male bias in Anufo ideology, which is reflected in rulemaking. She then goes on to analyse women's position in the system of marriage exchange, women's strategies in general, and particularly their strategies in cases of marital conflict. She shows the adaptations women make in situations where their rights are not formalized but where broad social changes are exerting certain pressures and tensions to challenge the status quo. In the area of arranged marriages, innovative ways of escaping from unwanted unions are commonplace. The customary dispute resolution system among the Anufom, the chief's court, is rarely used by women for marital conflicts, but a reflection of changing Anufo society is the emergence of the State court, which at least offers women the possibility of obtaining divorce or resisting a marriage arranged without consent. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.