Since achieving independence in 1960, Côte d'Ivoire has maintained close ties with France. This alliance has contributed, along with cocoa, coffee, and palm oil production, to making Côte d'Ivoire economically healthy in comparison with other West African countries.

Since a military coup in 1999, however, the country has experienced major political unrest, which has divided the country and resulted in both France and the United Nations dispatching peacekeeping troops. Although they have the legal right to equality, Ivoirian women live in a male-dominated society in which they are considered to be of little worth. Widows may be forced to marry the brothers of their dead husbands, and young girls are forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). Girls as young as 7 years old are forced ...

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