The Ivorian government has banned women from doing some jobs they categorise as beyond the abilities of women.

This comes at a time when the world is celebrating International Women’s Day with the theme ‘Press for Progress’.

According to the BBC, the decision was revealed in a closed press conference on Wednesday (March 8, 2018), with the first reports emerging on Thursday morning – International Women’s Day.

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The government’s spokesperson, Bruno Koné, explained that the jobs Ivorian women have been banned from 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.”

When asked if the law will not deny women some freedom, Koné insisted that this decision is to protect women.

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He added that if a woman wants to do any work on the ‘prohibited list’, she would have to contact an inspector at the Ministry of Work and “simply” get them to come and do a survey to ascertain if the woman is able to do the job.

Many have described this as a surprising development especially when most West African rural women carry heavy farm produce and wood on their head, with a child strapped to her back and walking for long distances in the scorching sun.