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Ivory Coast bans women from jobs which ‘exceed their abilities’

Women carrying heavy loads, either pregnant or with babies, are a common sight in Ivory Coast: AFP PHOTO

BBC- As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, the Ivorian government has updated its labour laws to stop women from doing certain jobs.

The decision was revealed in a closed press conference on Wednesday, with the first reports emerging on Thursday morning – International Women’s Day.

According to the government spokesperson, Bruno Koné, the list of banned jobs includes “work that exceeds the ability and physical capacity of women, or work that presents dangers which is likely to undermine their morality, for example, working underground or in the mines”.

It’s unclear how this would undermine anyone’s morality.

The irony of the order will also not be lost on those who have seen one of the most common sights in the West African country’s rural areas: a woman carrying a heavy load of wood on her head, with a child strapped to her back, often breastfeeding simultaneously, walking for miles in the hot sun.

But when quizzed on the announcement, Mr Koné insisted this law is all about “protecting women”.

What’s more, he said, if a woman did want to carry out any of the work on the “prohibited list” all they needed to do was to contact an inspector at the Ministry of Work and “simply” get them to come and do a survey and check that the woman is able to do the job.

Ivory Coast’s move came as leaders from around Africa went out of their way to praise women and their abilities on International Women’s Day,

In South Sudan, President Salva Kiir hailed women and girls for their courage, strength and resilience, while Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni described women as “the engine, the heart and backbone of our society”.

 

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