Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives – Francophone Africa, is the result of an in-depth examination of laws and policies affecting women’s reproductive health and rights in seven countries of Francophone Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal.
The report makes clear that although these countries have adopted policies to address many of the reproductive health problems common to the region, including high levels of maternal and infant mortality and high prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS, these policies have not had the desired effect. Women continue to suffer in the face of discriminatory customary laws and practices that undermine their social and economic autonomy. It is recommended that governments should resolve the contradictions between customary laws and statutory laws, and between laws and policies. In the absence of a commitment on the part of national governments to resolve these contradictions or to ensure that those laws already in place are respected and applied, women will continue to face discrimination in those areas that most directly affect their public and private lives.