13 B. C. Third World L. J. 63 (1993)
Gender and Economic Inequality in India: The Legal Connection

handle is hein.journals/bctw13 and id is 69 raw text is: GENDER AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITY IN
INDIA: THE LEGAL CONNECTION
DR. GITA GOPAL*
I.  INTRODUCTION  .....................................................   63
II. THE INDIAN LEGAL SYSTEM .........................................      65
A. The Indian Legal System .........................................    65
B. The Constitution and Personal Laws ..............................    67
C. The Challenge for Women: Social vs. Economic Laws ...............    68
III. WOMEN'S PROPERTY RIGHTS UPON MARRIAGE ......................           69
A. Dowry and Stridhan: The Introduction to Property ................    69
B. A Wife's Economic Rights ........................................    72
IV. WOMEN'S PROPERTY RIGHTS UPON DIVORCE ........................           75
V. GENDER AND PROPERTY RIGHTS UPON DEATH ......................            78
A. Right to Inherit Property by Will ..................................  78
B. Right to Inherit Property Upon Intestacy ...........................  79
1. Women's Right to Inherit Joint Family Property ...........       80
2. Women's Right to the Dwelling House .....................        82
3. Property Succession of Male and Female Intestates .........      82
C. Widows' Property Rights .........................................    83
VI. WOMEN'S ABILITY TO OWN AGRICULTURAL LAND ...................            84
VII.  CONCLUSION ........................................................    86
A woman is never fit for independence; her father protects her in childhood,
her husband protects her in her youth, and her sons protect her in her old
age. 1
I. INTRODUCTION
The definition and institutionalization of equal rights at law is
an important tool to combat the high degree of gender inequality
in India. Gender equality is a constitutional mandate and many laws
have been passed to improve the traditionally inferior social and
 M.A., 1976, L.L.B., 1980, Kerala University; L.L.M., 1981, S.J.D., 1988, Harvard
University. Dr. Gopal is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and an attorney in
Virginia. The author wishes to gratefully acknowledge the comments of Ms. Nena Manley
on an earlier draft of this article.
' G. BUHLE, THE LAws OF MANu 195 (F. Max Muller ed., 1990). Hindu law is based
upon the Manusmritis or code of Man, of which Manu is the author. Id. According to the
laws of Manu a woman must worship her husband as God even if he is a womanizer. NEERA
DESAI & MAITHREYI KRISHNARAJ, WOMEN AND SocIETY IN INDIA 28-29 (1987). A woman also
should be kept dependent by her husband because she is passionate and disloyal by nature.
Id. at 29.

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