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Dr. Maria das Neves Ceita Baptista de Sousa Contribution to Legal Reforms to Protect Women From Domestic Violence

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When the story broke in 2007 that a woman’s husband had cut her arm off in a domestic dispute, Dr. Maria das Neves Ceita Baptista de Sousa, the country’s first woman Prime Minister (2002–04) and member of the Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights, Gender, and Citizenship spearheaded efforts to enact laws that would eventually codify domestic violence into Santomean legislation and provide some form of protection for women.

Recently published Women, Business and the Law (WBL) brief “Legal Reforms to Protect Women at Home and at Work in São Tomé and Príncipe,” investigates how reform efforts resulted in the introduction of two pieces of landmark legislation to counter domestic and family violence. Seeking to understand the pressing issues women face on the small island, the brief includes interviews with several key stakeholders across different sectors, including policymakers, government representatives, civil society, and grassroots organizations.

Each conversation shed light on the hurdles faced by Santomean women throughout history and even today. Ultimately, women’s safety at home and work stood out as some of the most pressing challenges faced by local women