In honor of the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), IFES colleagues from around the world share their thoughts on gender discrimination in their countries and how they are working to overcome it.
Name: Samira Keita
Title: Program Officer
Country: Côte d'Ivoire
How does discrimination against women affect their participation as citizens in Côte d'Ivoire?
Women in Côte d'Ivoire represent a strong, productive force in the economy. They play an important role in economic development through nonremunerated domestic work, agricultural activities, micro-enterprises and remunerated professional and entrepreneurial work.
However, gender equality, as proclaimed in Ivorian law, is still not always applied in practice. This comes as a disappointment to Ivorian women working in organizations fighting gender discrimination. Their participation as citizens is challenged by the fact that women continue to carry the weight of socioeconomic inequalities between men and women in decision making and social services.
Despite the crucial role played by women in Côte d'Ivoire, women have a much lower status than men, and face enormous pressures as they continue to be victims of gender disparities.
Despite these obstacles, Ivorian women are a very active and vibrant part of the civil society community. In Côte d'Ivoire, discrimination against women persists at large, but does not stop women from actively participating as citizens. However, it prevents them from materializing their actions and initiatives through policy making.
Please tell us about your work with IFES related to combating discrimination against women and promoting women's empowerment
IFES in Côte d'Ivoire is working on different projects that promote women's empowerment and fight discrimination against women. We are working with a group of women-led civil society organizations from various fields of work, and supporting them in integrating gender into electoral and national reconciliation processes, and making sure gender mainstreaming is enforced during law and policy making.
IFES plans to build relationships between this network of women-led CSOs and other institutions such as the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) and the National Assembly.
In light of the upcoming local elections in Côte d’Ivoire, IFES will organize gender-mainstreaming training workshops with the CEI and a consultative roundtable with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on mitigating risks of electoral violence, among other activities.