Cotonou - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not too much, especially compared to the region. The only explicit biases I've heard are against Muslims. - Feb 2020

Benin is extremely ethnically and religious diverse and tolerant. Gender equality is a different matter, with women struggling to establish true equality, although expat women are more accepted. - Aug 2018

The country is very strongly Catholic, and other religions (or atheism!) are not well tolerated. - Jan 2017

Yes. Extreme discrimination against women. Common sexual abuse of school age girls. Domestic violence is extremely common. - Oct 2015

West African culture remains patriarchal, so women are not always treated as equals - in both subtle and overt ways. This was mildly frustrating as a stay-at-home mom but could be much more so for working women. - Jun 2015

Racial - generally, no. If you're Caucasian or are otherwise clearly a foreigner, you'll be given a fair amount of deference. Religious - no. Folks tend to be able to get along, whether they are Muslim, Christian, or animist. Gender - yup. If you're a woman, especially a Caucasian, be prepared to receive a lot of verbal sexual harassment. This is less of an issue if you're working for the U.S. Embassy, or are otherwise not having to deal extensively with the general populace. However, if you're going to be a Peace Corps volunteer, and you'll have to take mototaxis a lot, plan on getting a lot of unwanted marriage proposals. - Aug 2014

Not that I've noticed. - May 2013

Not as it affects expats. - Mar 2013

Benin is about one third Catholic, one third Muslim, and one third Animist (native religion). There seems to be a very good level of religious tolerance. Gender-based violence is an issue in Benin but the government is taking serious steps to address this and to have law enforcement and the courts not brush this off as a “family matter. Women enjoy equal rights in Benin and I haven’t noticed any overt discrimination. - Dec 2011

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