Lome- Togo (PANA) -- Notwithstanding extensive mobilisation among gender activists, discrimination against women remains manifest in Togo, and takes several forms.
Women still face a lot of difficulties when it comes to inheriting property left by their deceased husbands, and current legislation on the matter does not help much.
Article 391 of the civil and family code stipulates that for a woman to inherit property left by a deceased husband, the latter would have clearly indicated while alive, that customary law should not apply upon his death.
And even where that is the case, most kin ignore the provision and deny the widow any right to her late husband's property.
In certain regions, such as Fiokpo, a widow is obliged to go to bed with men of another clan before being reintegrated into her household, failing which she is repudiated and denied inheritance.
Furthermore, widows often face difficulties establishing the necessary papers for widowhood pension.
Forced and early marriages is another form of abuse Togolese women suffer.
In the Savannah region on the border with Burkina Faso, girls as young as five and eight years are married to elderly men in exchange for gifts.
Some girls wind up committing suicide because of forced marriages.
Sometimes women are swapped (sister against wife) and can be taken back any time the deal runs sour.
In the face of all these forms of discrimination and abuse, the government has set up a commission to review the 1980 civil and family code to bring it in line with women's concerns and emerging constraints.