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Publication Detail
ADB 2002-01: Sociolegal Status of Women in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand

Are laws the answer to achieving gender equality? What are the complex interactions of civil, religious and customary laws that shape women’s status? What are the ways in which laws reflect and reinforce social and cultural norms and expectations? Will the enactment of laws to protect and promote the rights of women result in improving the status of women in Asia? This publication provides a discussion of these complex issues and offers some answers to these questions. It is based on an ADB regional technical assistance – RETA – that consolidates findings and recommendations of four country studies together with an overview study. The four country studies revealed that existing laws in many DMCs continue to discriminate against women. These laws can constrain women from achieving their full potential to participate equally in all spheres of economic, political and social life. The study explores the various structural, institutional and socio-cultural constraints to women’s access to justice. Following the country assessments, the publication suggests strategies and approaches to improve the legal frameworks to better serve the changing needs of women in the region and relevant steps that governments and civil society groups need to take to:amend discriminatory laws, enact new laws to protect women’s rights,correct entrenched gender biases in the way laws are administered and enforced improve women’s legal awareness and access to justice. Finally, recommendations for further actions by governments, civil society groups, ADB and other development agencies to improve women’s sociolegal status are provided.

Asian Development Bank
Authors Keywords
ADB; women's issues; gender and development; legal issues;
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