Mali - Social development

Social welfare services are available mainly in urban areas, basically as an extension of labor benefits and medical aid under the labor code, which includes provisions for medical care, workers' compensation, and retirement benefits. Pensions were paid for by employee contributions of 3.6% and employer contributions in the amount of 5.4%. A system of family allowances for wage earners provides small maternity and children's allowances, along with classes in prenatal and infant care. Employers are required to provide free sick leave to their employers, as well as maternity benefits equal to 100% of earnings for 14 weeks. These programs are administered by the National Social Insurance Institute. Under tribal organization, the individual's basic welfare needs are traditionally cared for by the group. This system, however, is breaking down as the country develops.

The government has made a special effort to improve the status of women, and a few women have entered government employment. Yet, social and cultural factors still sharply limit educational and economic opportunities for most women. Despite legal protections, most women face active discrimination in the areas of divorce, inheritance and child custody. Domestic abuse and violence against women is a common and tolerated problem. Women have little access to legal services. Female genital mutilation, a painful and often life-threatening procedure, is also commonly performed on young girls. Child labor persists.

Human rights are generally respected although prison conditions remain poor.

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