From driving to marital rape, nations fail to end sex discrimination:

Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:04pm EST
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By Emma Batha

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From India where marital rape is legal to Russia where women are banned from 456 jobs, scores of countries have failed to honor a promise to scrap all laws that discriminate against women, campaigners said on Saturday.

Rights group Equality Now called on all governments to review their legislation as it launched a report highlighting discriminatory laws around the world, in areas such as wife obedience, polygamy, inheritance rights and 'honor killings'.

"We wanted to show how women are treated as children, as property without conscious thought, how they are stereotyped into particular roles, and how these roles are codified in law," said Jacqui Hunt, Equality Now's London director.

The review coincides with the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Women, when 189 governments pledged to "revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex".

"We need to hold governments accountable to that promise," Hunt said.

"A first step to providing women's equality is to ensure a strong legal framework. If a government discriminates in its laws it shows very clearly the disrespect it has for women and girls."

Countries picked out include Lebanon, where a rapist will not be prosecuted if he marries his victim, and Iran, where a woman's testimony is worth less than a man's.

In Russia women are barred from a long list of jobs including train driver, tractor operator, carpenter, firefighter and sailor. In Saudi Arabia - not one of the Beijing Platform signatories - women are not allowed to drive cars because driving is "a source of undeniable vices".   Continued...