Advancing gender justice in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia and in other countries in Africa is critical to the growth and development of the African society. Inheritance to property from the estate of a deceased father and/ or husband remains a critical resource to the development of the socio-economic conditions of many women in Africa. Unfortunately many are still disinherited, their property being forcefully grabbed and taken away by in-laws. Facing accusations of killing their husbands; many of these women are mandated to engage in demeaning cleansing ceremonies or widowhood practises.
This study established that there is an immediate need for a paradigm shift requiring a re-engineering of society, the law and systems of justice in order to change the manifestation of attitudes and conducts that viciously create and recreate the unequal status of gender insubordination that has been declared invalid through a variety of national and international standards.
Breaking new ground, this thesis calls for improved and more progressive yet sensitive means of accessing justice by way of Expanded Justice System (EJS). As a sui generis model to be established within the states, EJS should include all other forms of norm, rule-making and access mechanisms with the aim to creating that positive cultural context envisaged by Africa-based international human rights law for all persons; both women and men.
The continent through international human rights law such as the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa has created normative standard that ensures that women and men are equal before the law with equal benefits of the law thereby guaranteeing various rights including the right to inheritance for women and children.
In Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, many women, despite admirable normative developments continue to face discrimination, dispossession and loss of their dignity. The study establishes that there is a huge gap between the law, policy and what actually happens in practice. The challenge lies in the laws that are inadequate and ineffective for the majority who have limitations in having full and equal benefit of the law. For many women, the resources available to them in accessing justice for appropriate redress are inadequate thereby sustaining their inequality and discrimination.
The study reaffirms the importance of key role players in matters of culture such as the traditional leaders and their institutions and the prospects that such institutions bring towards ensuring gender justice. They are usually the first contact at the grassroots and so must be engaged with as the critical interface in dealing with the clash of culture and human rights for the benefit of all persons; men and women living within their various domains.