SARAH J. CONROY
“Where poor enforcement of women’s inheritance rights and high HIV infection rates combine, they form a vicious cycle—where more women are left economically vulnerable, more women are forced into infection risk by the sex trade and “widow inheritance” practices. Women’s inheritance rights are critical in the world’s efforts to curb the spread of AIDS, but without a method of enforcement that creates strong incentives for governments to implement them, these rights run the risk of continuing to be neglected. This article asserts that placing conditions on aid money could help make women’s inheritance rights a reality.
The article focuses on the impact of domestic family structures on the national and international stage. The intersection of poorly enforced women’s inheritance rights and HIV infection rates pulls inheritance, which touches on a culture’s deeply-rooted ideas of family and morality, into conflict with a population’s fight for survival against a deadly epidemic. This article argues that international economic institutions such as the IMF and World Bank can offer the case-by-case analysis and support necessary to navigate such a difficult conflict of priorities. First, the article outlines the importance, both on a domestic and international level, of women’s inheritance rights, showing that the rights are not adequately protected under domestic jurisdiction. Second, the article demonstrates that the international community has a right and duty to enforce women’s inheritance rights. Finally, the article proposes that international economic institutions take a leadership role in enforcing the rights, primarily through conditions on aid lending.”
For full article, see Volume 28:4
Image source: Arenamontanus, http://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/