Mali - Law No. 2011 – 087 of December 30, 2011 Relating to the Code of Persons and Family - Equality Now

Mali - Law No. 2011 – 087 of December 30, 2011 Relating to the Code of Persons and Family

  • Country: Mali
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy & Wife Obedience

Articles 307, 316, 319, 366 and 373 of Mali’s Law No. 2011-087 Relating to the Code of Persons and Family allow polygamy; mandate wife obedience; establish the man as head of the household and give him by law the sole right to determine the family residence; and prohibit women, but not men, from remarrying for at least three months after the dissolution of a marriage by divorce or death.

Article 307. Marriage may be contracted:
- Either under monogamy, in which case a husband cannot contract a second marriage before the dissolution of the first. However, a man who has opted for a monogamous marriage shall have the right to revise his option with the express consent of his wife.
- Or under polygamy, in which case it is necessary that the wife consents and a man shall not be married simultaneously to more than four wives.

Article 316. Within the respective rights and duties of spouses as enshrined in the Code, the wife must obey her husband, and the husband must protect his wife.

Article 319. The husband is the head of the household . . . The choice of the family residence belongs to the husband. The wife is obliged to live with him and he shall accommodate her . . .

Article 366. A divorced woman shall not remarry before a period of three months after the divorce.

Article 373. A widow shall not remarry before a period of four months and ten days after the death of her husband. A pregnant widow can only remarry after childbirth.

If the birth occurs during this time, it is no longer required to complete the period prescribed in the previous paragraph.

Link To Law


Article 2 of the Constitution of Mali: All Malians are born and live free and equal in their rights and duties. Any discrimination based on social origin, color, language, race, sex, religion, or political opinion is prohibited.

Sex discrimination in marital status laws renders women and girls subordinate in many aspects of family relations before, during and after marriage.

Women in polygamous marriages may face severe financial loss, including inheritance rights, and potentially fatal health problems such as HIV/AIDS due to their husband having multiple sexual partners. Laws which allow the man to be designated as the head of the household allow the husband to unilaterally make decisions that may affect the rest of the family, including for example, where the family lives.

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