The practice of female genital cutting (FGC) or circumcision has been a prevalent tradition in many African nations for generations. The practice, which involves removing the clitoris or entire external genitalia of young girls without anesthetic, is seen as necessary in many places to deem a woman acceptable for marriage, however young girls have died from infection due to the process. In Senegal, the tradition has been especially prevalent, where one in five girls underwent the procedure before puberty.
In 1946, a general strike in Dakar (with the exception of railway workers) guaranteed wage increases, family allowances for government workers, the recognition of unions, the expansion of wage hierarchies, and bonuses for seniority. In 1947, 164 cases of collective conflicts were reported to the Inspection du Travail; most dealt with wage disputes and were settled without incident. In that year, 133 unions in the public sector and 51 in the private had been recognized. The Fédération Syndicale des Cheminots (Railway Workers Union) was one of these autonomous and recognized unions.