The Constitution recognises freedom of movement and access to public space as extending to all citizens. For some women, however, this freedom is constrained by practices of animist religions. The Oro and Zangbeto religions, for example, place restrictions on women’s movements during certain times. Women are required to remain locked inside on pain of physical punishment or even death should they be suspected of spying with the intention of revealing the group’s secrets. In addition, in some households, husbands restrict women’s freedom of movement: 45% of women reported that their husbands would only allow them to visit friends and relatives with their permission.The 2006 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) similarly reports that 30% of women declare that it is primarily their husband who decides whether she can visit her family and relatives.
Concerning political voice
, in accordance with the 1990 constitution, various election laws make no distinction between men and women with regard to the right to vote or stand for office in local and national elections.
Nonetheless, high rates of illiteracy among women and the persistence of discriminatory practices mean few women are elected. From 2003 to 2011, the percentage of elected women was consistently low, rising from 7.2% (or 6 out of 83 ministers) to 10% (or 9 out of 83 ministers) between 2007 and 2011.
The poor representation of women in the political sphere is explained in part by the fact that, as stated in the JICA country profile for Benin, “Women’s involvement in any activities, whether social, economic or cultural, is subject to men’s decision”.
A bill on political quotas for women is currently under consideration in parliament, while NGOs are promoting the importance of having women candidates at the grassroots level. A handbook entitled “Women in Politics: What Strategy” has been published by the government and efforts have been made to disseminate it widely, to encourage women to become politically active.
The right to freedom of assembly is generally respected, and requirements for permits for demonstrations are often ignored.
In terms of workplace rights
, the civil service and state institutions have relatively few women workers, despite legislation stipulating equal access. Data from 2007 report that the civil service is made up of 73.2% men compared to 26.8% women.
The participation of women in government is at a similar level, varying from administration to administration (e.g. 23.08% in 2007 and 13.3% in 2008), and women tend to be in positions concentrated in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Trade, and Ministry of the Family and Children.
Article 8 of the Constitution “guarantees its citizens equal access… to vocations training and employment” while article 30 recognises the right to work regardless of sex.
The Labour Code similarly does not make distinctions on the basis of sex and in fact prohibits employers from considering sex, age or race when making decisions relatives to hiring, promotions, benefits or terminations.
The code also establishes the “principle of equal pay for work of equal value”.
Under employment law, women are legally entitled to 14 weeks’ maternity leave
and cannot be fired by their employers when they become pregnant.
In addition, in adherence with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards, the Labour Codes provides particular protections for pregnant women in the even they lose their jobs.
However, a lack of awareness among women hinders the successful implementation of these laws and policies.
Also, this legislation only applies to women working in the formal economy, where they make up 40.5% of the workforce.
Those women working in the informal sector are not protected by this, or any other, employment legislation.
 CEDAW (2012), p. 26  UNICEF (2007), p. 20  INSAE and Macro International Inc. (2007), p. 283  CEDAW (2012), p. 11  CEDAW (2012), p. 11  JICA (2009), p. 16  CEDAW (2013)  US Department of State (2010)  CEDAW (2012), p. 12  CEDAW (2012), p. 13  CEDAW (2012), p. 17  CEDAW (2012), p. 18  CEDAW (2012), p. 18  CEDAW (2002), p. 48  CEDAW (2012), p. 18  UNECA (2009), p. 145  UNECA (2009), p. 130