The OECD Development Centre launched the SIGI Country Report for Côte d’Ivoire “Institutions sociales et égalité femmes-hommes en Côte d’Ivoire” (click here for the abridged English version) on 30 June 2022, in partnership with the General Secretariat of the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire and the National Institute of Statistics, with the kind support of the Jacobs Foundation and UBS Optimus Foundation through their initiative Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC).
What are the deep-rooted drivers of gender inequality in Côte d’Ivoire, in particular when it comes to education and economic empowerment? What policies, programmes and initiatives can promote girls’ and women’s rights and advance their well-being?
The report acts as a guide for policy makers to gain a better understanding of the discriminatory social norms and practices that deeply affect Ivorian girls and women, and advocates for policy actions that will trigger social change.
Results show that discrimination against women in social institutions is more widespread in rural than urban areas, and tends to be higher in the north and north-west of the country. However, large variations exist across the country, requiring policies that are tailored to the local contexts.
The analysis of the SIGI Country Report for Côte d’Ivoire focuses on identifying discriminatory social institutions that hamper girls’ education. These include social norms that lead households to prioritise boys’ education, as well as those that create structural and fundamental obstacles to women’s economic empowerment.
What are the main findings of the report?
Discriminatory social norms lie at the heart of inequalities between girls’ and boys’ in terms of their education and school enrolment
- Households invest first and foremost in boys’ rather than girls’ education. The perception of future returns from education in terms of employment favours boys. In case of limited resources, 30% of the population would favour boys’ education, to the detriment of that of girls.
- Boys are perceived as having higher innate abilities than girls in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and as better suited for certain careers. 32% of the population considers that boys have better capacities than girls in scientific subjects, against only 4% who think the opposite.
- The share of unpaid care and domestic work that falls on girls’ shoulders hampers their education. Social norms confine girls and women to the private sphere and to their role within the household, including their role as mothers.
- Schools are perceived as a space where girls are at risk of being exposed to violence or immoral behaviour, especially at the secondary level. 20% of the population considers that schools corrupt girls’ morals, and 43% of the population is reluctant to the idea of letting their daughters pursue their education in another town.
- Discriminatory norms that encourage girl child marriage draw them away from school. 34% of the population believes that a well‑educated woman has lower chances of marrying. Girl child marriage increases the probability of school dropout at the secondary level and increases the risk of teenage pregnancy.
Discriminatory social norms create structural and fundamental obstacles to Ivorian women’s economic empowerment. They hamper their full participation to the labour market as well as their ability to own agricultural land.
- In the public and private spheres alike, decision-making power is the prerogative of men, including in terms of women’s right to work and to control household resources. For example, 70% of the population thinks that a man should decide whether a woman has the right to work outside the home.
- Social norms assign women to the domestic sphere, where they undertake most of the unpaid care and domestic work. On average, Ivorian women dedicate four times more time than men to unpaid care and domestic activities.
- Customs and traditions that legitimate discriminatory inheritance practices hamper women’s ownership of property. A large share of the population estimates that land belongs to men and considers normal that women and girls are fully or partially excluded from inheritance.
Addressing and transforming discriminatory social norms and practices constitutes an extraordinary economic opportunity
Removing discriminatory social norms is not only a necessary step to achieve gender equality, it also represents an opportunity to radically transform society and place women’s educations and economic participation at the service of a stronger, more sustainable and more inclusive economic growth. In addition, both the nature and levels of discrimination that Ivorian women and girls face vary across districts and/or places of residence. Therefore, policies, programmes and initiatives must reflect this observation and adopt a targeted approach that is adapted to local contexts.
The SIGI Country Report for Côte d’Ivoire proposes to structure the Ivorian public action around four main axes, which should be taken into consideration for the development of the country’s policies and programmes:
- Amend discriminatory laws in order to eliminate any gender‑based discrimination, and guarantee their enforcement
- Focus on discriminatory social norms and practices identified as root barriers to girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment
- Strengthen the quality and reach of the educational system as a means in itself to transform social norms
- Invest in the collection of sex-disaggregated data to gain a better understanding of how social norms evolve and to monitor changes in girls’ access to education and women’s economic empowerment.
The report also highlights specific recommendations and concrete actions on girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment for the government, the donor community and civil society.
- Read the full report (French) for more detailed analysis as well as thematic policy recommendations (click here for the short version in English)
- Read the press release « Accélérer l’autonomisation des filles et des femmes en Côte d’Ivoire : tout se joue à la maison et à l’école”
- Download a 2-page summary of the report in French or in English (link forthcoming)
- Access the results of the SIGI Côte d’Ivoire (link forthcoming)
- Access the SIGI Côte d’Ivoire databases and the technical documents of the project (link forthcoming)