Forced and Underage Marriages in New Zealand: Some Reflections on Public and Private Patriarchy and Intersectionality
In this article I will briefly discuss the problem of forced marriages within Asian, Middle Eastern and African diaspora communities in New Zealand. Within the last few years forced marriages have received media attention in New Zealand. However, it is important to note that there is no specific legislation to curb this problem precisely. As a result, women within these diaspora communities suffer breaches of their women’s and human rights. I will argue that in the context of forced marriages women from these communities are subjected to multiple forms of discrimination against them both at public and private level owing to their gender, race and ethnicity. At the private realms of their family and communities women are subjected to patriarchal violence, whereas at public level their race and ethnicity play a crucial role in their marginalisation. This results in denial of their basic rights. To address this issue I will expand the concept of public and private patriarchy given by Sylvia Walby. This is in order to elucidate that western societies are no longer Western, rather they are multicultural societies where the needs of women from diverse backgrounds should be addressed in culturally competent ways. Furthermore, I will employ the theory of intersectionality to elucidate how women from diaspora communities are further marginalised at a public level. For my methodology I will use secondary data. I will discuss two cases of forced marriages, in this article, that were published in the New Zealand media a few years ago. I conclude that a multicultural approach is required while framing and amending policies in contemporary New Zealand that will deal with different forms of cultural abuses.
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