The main goal of this thesis is to examine the Law of Marriage Act in the United Republic of Tanzania, which went into effect on May 1, 1971, in terms of “the equality of the sexes.” Specifically, it aims: 1) to review a number of discussions which went on during the process leading to its enactment, and 2) to consider how the three key expressions advocated by the Tanzanian government, namely, “the equality of the sexes, ”“the equality between husband and wife”, and “the equality of all human beings, ” were used variously in this very process.
Chapter 2 summarizes the backgrounds to the enactment of the Law of Marriage Act. The enactment of this new law was prompted by the government's movement to unify existing marriage laws and the policies stipulated in the government's Second Five-Year Development in 1969 as well as Tanzania's international relations after 1964.
Chapter 3 reviews diverse discussions which appeared during the enactment process. The fact that there was a wide diversity of opinion both among the general public and in the parliament shows that marriage was practiced in many different ways according to the customs in each local community.
Chapter 4 analyzes the Law of Marriage Act in detail. It was found that while this law guarantees the rights of all women in most areas regarding marriage, including their right to contract a marriage only with a free and voluntary consent and to acquire, hold, and dispose of their property, the law shows some reservations on each local community's customs. This implies that inequalities between men and women could remain in society even after the enactment of this law.
Chapter 5 examines the relationship between Ujamaa socialism from 1969 to 1971 and the expression “the equality of the sexes.” It was revealed that Ujamaa socialists needed this expression as their slogan and that during the enactment process of the Law of Marriage Act, “the equality between husband and wife” was associated with Ujamaa socialism.
In sum, this thesis argues that the three key expressions advocated by the Tanzanian government, namely, “the equality of the sexes, ” “the equality between husband and wife”, and “the equality of all human beings, ” were discussed within the framework of Ujamaa socialism from 1969 to 1971 and promoted the improvement of women's status; however, it had a limitation in that the government had to take account of the diverse customs in many different local communities.