Senegal has a vast and diverse culture dating back centuries. Music and dance play a crucial role, and typical traditional music such as Yela, the rhythms of which mimic the sound of grain being pounded by female villagers, is still practiced by many Senegalese. Senegal is also famous for the quality of its jewelry. Local artisans sell their intricately crafted gold and silver jewelry in regional markets all over the country, and the large amber necklaces traditionally worn by Fulani women are a common sight.1
According to the World Bank, the population of Senegal in 2012 was recorded at 13 million; it ranks 154 out of 185 in the Human Development Index of 2012. The country has one of the region's more stable economies, although the agriculture-based economy is highly vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in world commodity prices.
total population in Senegal
out of 185 in the Human Development Index
FROM SENEGAL: MEET THE ARTISANS
The women of Wolof Weavers of Senegal are proud to preserve the coil style of basket weaving by passing the technique from generation to generation. Using thick local grasses and strips of recycled plastic in the traditional technique, the artisans craft baskets and hampers that generate income critical to sustaining their families. Wolof Weavers is a cooperative effort of over 100 highly skilled women weaving in nine villages.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
The most significant human rights problems in Senegal include physical abuse and torture; limits on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; and corruption. Other major human rights problems include inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and prisoners; child abuse; child marriage; infanticide; violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS; trafficking in persons; and child labor.2
In public and political life, there are a good number of women public officials at all levels. In 2002, the President appointed the first woman Prime Minister and drafted and proposed a bill on gender equality in public office. However, and in spite of having ratified the main international and regional women’s rights protection instruments, many of their provisions continue to be violated in law and practice. Senegalese women still encounter widespread rape, including spousal rape. Other challenges women encounter are: violence within the family; female genital mutilation/cutting on girls; pervasive discrimination, especially in rural areas where traditional customs, including polygyny and discriminatory rules of inheritance are strongest; etc.3