Mali is a vast landlocked country in West Africa with a population of 13 million people. Islam is the major religion (over 90 percent), followed by traditional African beliefs and Christianity. The largely rural population is predominantly occupied with agriculture, livestock raising, and fishing; 77 percent of primary sector workers are women. Most Malians live below the poverty line.

A former French colony, Mali's legal system is based on a combination of customary law and the French civil law system. Although the constitution prohibits all discrimination on the basis of sex, many of women's civil liberties are restricted, including their freedom of movement, which is limited by the obligation to follow their husbands. Despite Mali's ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of ...

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