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The unemployment rate of women in Cuba is extremely low with only 1.8% of women not being employed (1). However, despite a high paid employment rate, women are still much more likely to spend time completing unpaid domestic labour; cuban women spend 14 more hours carrying out domestic work than men do (3), and the average woman spends 21% of her time on unpaid domestic labour (1). Furthermore, women are underrepresented in managerial positions of which only 38.1% are held by women (1).


Across Cuba, 96.6% of girls attend school meaning that only 3.4% do not (1). This is extremely positive and explains the high female literacy rates, as 99.8% of women can read and write (1).


In Cuba, a large percentage of women are married before the age of 18 (29.4%) and 4.8% are married before they reach the age of 15 (1). This is concerning when considering how this impacts the number of women who have children before they reach adulthood; in every 1,000 women, 53.3 between the ages of 15 and 19 will have had children before they reach adulthood (1). Of all mothers with newborns, 42% are currently in receipt of a maternity cash benefit (1).

Gender-Based Violence

When regarding the given statistics, it appears that gendered violence in Cuba is extremely low; the Cuban National Study of Gender Equality found that 95% of people interviewed did not feel that they had experienced discrimination on the basis of their sex in the past five years (3). Moreover, 8.9% of people surveyed believed that gender violence does not exist in Cuba at all (3). 51.9% believe that some gender violence exists but that this is not a significant problem for women (3). Despite this belief, 4.6% of women have been abused by a partner within the last year (1) and 39.6% of women have been subject to psychological violence at some point in their lives (3). Gender violence appears to be comparatively extremely low in Cuba.

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

2018: 29% of the women interviewed in a survey on sexual abuse acknowledged having been victims of sexual violence, with more than 30% of the cases occurring in the victim’s home, but 74.2% were never reported. 26.7% of Cuban women had been victims of violence by their partners in the 12 months prior to the study. When surveyed, women disclosed experiencing psychological violence first, followed by economic, physical and were most hesitant to speak about sexual violence (4).

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of Domestic Abuse to the Economy Each Year:

No research.

Estimated % Change due to COVID-19:

No research.

Current Law and Policy

The Cuban government has no laws or action plans to combat domestic violence. The Cuban government has been hesitant to acknowledge the violence against women in the country. Currently, Cuban law does not recognise domestic violence as a distinct category of violence. However, it does prohibit inflicting injuries (Criminal Code, Article 272) and being a parent or spouse of the victim is listed as an aggravating circumstance (Criminal Code, Article 53). Moreover, there is currently no national plan to address the issue of domestic violence in the country. The Cuban government have began to acknowledge domestic abuse, albeit in a very small way, by releasing numbers on gender-motivated killings, numbers which only include women who died as a result of domestic violence.

Women in Politics

The political representation of women in Cuba is very positive; 53.4% of seats in the national parliament are held by women (1) and 49% of congress are female (2). This high representation of women can also be recognised in government and state leadership roles of which, 50.7% are held by women (3). This figure rises to 53.5% in regards to governor and vice governor positions (3). Women are less represented in local government where currently, 36.8% of seats are held by women (1). 10 of the 21 members of the council of the state are women and 33 vice minister positions are held by women (3).


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Further Reading

[1] OECD, “Cuba”, (2019), Social Institutions and Gender Index; Associated Press, “Independent Women’s Groups Say 2019 Year of Progress in Cuba”, (, 16 December 2019).

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