In several African countries, women can do anything they want. In legal terms, they have the right to do any kind of job they want. But in Cote d’Ivoire, the situation is going to be different. The Ivorian government has updated its labour laws to stop women from doing certain jobs that “exceed their abilities”.
The announcement came as the world celebrated International Women’s Day on Thursday. Bruno Koné, a government spokesperson told the BBC that the list of banned jobs includes “work that exceeds the ability and physical capacity of women, or work that presents dangers which are likely to undermine their morality, for example, working underground or in the mines”.
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In rural areas around West Africa, most women are seen doing these kinds of jobs: walking in the hot sun with a heavy load of firewood on their heads, having children at their backs, or doing some farming-related jobs under the scorching sun. For Mr Koné, the law is all centred on “protecting women” from these kinds of jobs.
He, however, indicated that women who would want to do the afore-mentioned jobs must contact an inspector at the Ministry of Work who would come and check them to find out if they are suitable for the job.
African countries on Thursday marked the International Women’s Day with a promise to reduce gender inequality by allowing more women to participate in politics and other areas.
“South Africa has made great strides since the advent of democracy (in 1994) to advance and affirm women as part of building a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and united country,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his International women’s Day message as quoted by local media APA News.
Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni said as quoted by local media New Vision: “Each district (in Uganda) has a seat reserved for a woman representative in parliament.”
In Ethiopia, the national flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines made history once again after announcing the deployment of an all-female crew for their flight from Ethiopia to Buenos Aires, Argentina to mark and celebrate International Women’s Day.