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  • Writer's pictureSreedhara Naidu

Malaysian Married Women Act 1957

The Malaysian Married Women Act 1957 is a significant piece of legislation that has profoundly impacted the legal status of married women in Malaysia. Before the enactment of the act, married women had limited legal rights and were subject to many discriminatory laws.


One of the act's key provisions is the recognition of a married woman's legal capacity. Before the act, a married woman was not considered a legal entity in her own right and could not enter into contracts or own property. The act changed this by giving married women the same legal capacity as men, enabling them to own property and enter into contracts in their name.

Under the act, married women were granted the legal capacity to enter into contracts, own property, sue, and be sued in their names. This gave women greater independence and allowed them to participate more fully in economic and social life.


The act also provided for the registration of marriages, which helped ensure that women had legal protection in divorce or separation. This included provisions for the division of property and the maintenance of children.

The act also provided for the protection of women's property rights in marriage. Before the act, a woman's property would typically be considered her husband's property upon marriage. The act changed this, allowing married women to retain ownership of their property and preventing their husbands from disposing of it without their consent.

In addition, the act made provisions for maintaining wives and children. This meant that husbands had a legal obligation to provide for their wives and children, even after a separation or divorce.


Another significant provision of the act was recognising a woman's right to work and earn a wage. The act provided for the protection of women's employment rights, including the right to equal pay for equal work.

Overall, the Malaysian Married Women Act 1957 was a significant step forward in protecting women's rights in Malaysia. The act granted married women greater legal capacity and autonomy and greater protection of their property and maintenance rights. The act helped to reduce gender discrimination and promote greater gender equality in Malaysia.


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