Family Law

Family law is a body of rules, laws, regulations, customary and uncodified laws and practices that govern relationships within family units. It includes, but is not limited to, areas of marriage and family relations such as rights of women and men entering into marriage, divorce, custody and guardianship of children, property rights, as well as equal rights to inheritance. 

Why it’s important

  • Family laws that discriminate against women and girls can lead to gender gaps in indicators such as educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, and political empowerment. 
  • According to UN Women, more than 2.5 billion women and girls around the world are affected in multiple ways by discriminatory laws and the lack of legal protections.
  • Evidence and practice has shown that gender equality is good for the family, for society, for the economy, and for a country’s prosperity and well-being. Despite this, many governments and community leaders are still opposed to change and reform that could lead to improved lives.

What we are doing to help

ACT Alliance is a participating member in a Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law that seeks to bring justice and equality to the family. In addition to this and other advocacy work, ACT Alliance’s support to members to address issues that are specific and relevant to their local cultural and context such as local laws and practices that impact the family, like inheritance laws and unequal access to land. ACT alliance is supportive to galvanise international action to build momentum among civil society, governments and the UN system on the urgent need for family law reform. 




  • Lutheran World Federation | Changing laws and patriarchal attitudes go hand in hand



  • OHCHR | Realising women's right to land and other productive resources

  • Womankind Worldwide | Women’s rights should shape universal social protection as a COVID-19 response

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