Gender -Related Legal Reform and Access to Economic Resources in Eastern Africa
One critical assumption has pervaded all efforts at legal reform of personal laws and practices are constraints to progress and development. Legal reform of these traditional and indigenous legal systems, based on the above assumption, has been largely unsuccessful, however. Formal legal frameworks that have been introduce to replace the traditional systems of personal law in many eastern African countries have not adequately protected both men and women, and in particular, women have become relatively more vulnerable. There is increasing recognition that change is urgently needed in the legal framework. The impetus for this change is coming primely from African women themselves, as they respond to their personal and practical experiences of the law. Top-down imposition of norms has not worked;if legal reform is to lead to sustainable equity for women, the voices of these women must be heard. There is therefore an urgent need for the development of the tools that will ensure the participation of both women in the determination of appropriate legal norms. Positive changes are taking place in many African countries, and they must be supported.