New Family Law’s Affect on Mozambican Women

In March 2005, Mozambican president passed the new Family Law that promotes respect for women and their rights. This law was formed with the hopes of redefining marriage and the status of women. Mozambique is in transition from a past that included colonial oppression, civil war, and poverty. The entire nation suffered during these hardships, yet the burden of keeping the family structure strong fell solely on the backs of women. With the passing of this law the hopes are to honor and give thanks to the women of Mozambique.



  • Changes in Marriage Laws – In the new Family Law the minimum age of eligibility for girls to marry raises to 18 to encourage young girls to further their education before marring. The new law recognizes non-traditional marriages. Widows are now allowed to inherit land or other property. Women now have the right to seek a divorce or to create and enforce prenuptial agreements.
  • Changes in Social Status – The old law made women depended on men because there was no way for them to accumulate wealth. Under the new law the status of head of the household is shared by men and women. Women now have the right to work outside of the household without permission of a husband or male relative. Women also now have the right to buy, own, and manage property or other financial assets.

    Photo by Ton Rulkens/Cashew processing in Nampula province of Mozambique

  • Provides Assistance with Adjusting – Muleide, a women’s rights and development organization that is part of the Family Law coalition provides training and promotion of the new law in ways do not create conflicts in the family of grass root homes. Muleide works with traditional leaders (such as healers) and beliefs to introduce the new law. Muleide trains traditional healers in the new to also assist with adjustments.

    Photo by Ton Rulkens/Joana Manuel, 102 year old natural healer

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