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Gender-Based Violence

Gendered violence is a big issue in Grenada; 1 in 3 women experience domestic violence (1) with 5.3% of pregnant women reporting that they were beaten whilst pregnant (1). Outside, of the home, violence is also a big issue; 1 in 4 women experience sexual violence from someone who is not their partner (1), 15.5% experience unwanted sexual touching (1) and 25% of women suffer from physical violence at some point in their lives (1). A reason for the extent of gendered violence in Grenada are the beliefs that women are either to blame or that men have the right to harm women with whom they are in a relationship. In 2018, a survey found that 22.6% of women believed that a wife is always obligated to have sex with her husband (even if she doesn’t want to) and 25.3% believed that a wife should always obey her husband (6). Furthermore, 20.5% of women believe that domestic violence in a marriage is a private matter and 3.9% believe that if a woman is raped, she must have done something careless to put herself in that position (6). This means that whilst it has been estimated that 29% of women have experienced at least one form of violence in their life (1), the real figure is probably higher.


The literacy rate for girls is high, at 98.6% (3) and there is a pupil teacher ratio of 16.06 in primary school and 15.46 in secondary school, meaning that the country ranks fairly well globally (87th for primary school ratios and 39th for secondary school ratios) (2). However, in the 2011 census only 42.8% of children had finished primary school, and even fewer (25.7%) had finished secondary school (6). Only 175 children in total had finished a post secondary school qualification (6).


Unemployment is a significant issue for women in Grenada and affects 21.3% of women in comparison to only 12.3% of men (6). In 2018, 11.9% of women surveyed had no income at all meaning 15.8% relied on family and friends for economic support and 11.5% relied on their partner (6). This leaves many women in a precarious financial position. Research also found that many women (56.4%) believe that a woman’s most important role is in taking care of her family and 67.8% agreed that a man should be the head of the family (6). However, social ideas about the role of women may be changing; in 2018, 93.8% of women surveyed believed that men and women should share authority in the household and 88.4% also agreed that a woman should be able to spend her own money (6). These beliefs will hopefully translate to an increase in positive economic opportunities and freedoms for women.

Political representation

In Grenada, 46.7% of seats in national parliament are held by women (3) and there is a history of women in leadership roles. For example, Grenada has had three female presidents (4) and a female governor in the commonwealth who served from 1968 to 1974 (4). The National Democratic Congress and the Grenada United Labour Party have also both had female leaders (4). In 2013, Grenada welcomed its first female head of state- Cecile Le Grenade (5). However, women still haven’t achieved proportionate political representation; between the years 1999 and 2007, only 27% of the lower house of parliament was made up of women and between the years 2004 and 2006, only 38% of senate representatives were women (4).


The maternal mortality rate in Grenada is 25 per every 100,000 live births (3) and the life expectancy for women is 75 (7). There are 8.1 doctors for every 10,000 people and 70% of doctors leave to go and work in other countries (8). The adolescent birth rate is high at 35.9 for every 1,000 births (3).

Current law and policy

Grenada commits to strengthening its newly established policies, legislations and government departments for preventing and combating violence against women. The government, in the Medium Term Agenda (2019-2021) has committed to strengthening interventions to combat domestic violence and child abuse. In order to achieve this, a Public Service Delivery Agreement has been developed and signed by seven Ministries of Government with different targets developed for each year. To facilitate implementation, a new Technical Working Group has been formed made up of senior technical staff members and monitored by the Office of the Cabinet.

The government, spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Development, held a series of student-oriented workshops in December 2019 entitled “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence) in order raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence. Government representatives commented that they will be implementing coordinated interventions to address gaps in the provision of multi-sectoral short-term and long-term responses to victims of sexual and intimate partner violence.

In September 2018, the Royal Grenada Police Force established a Special Victims Unit charged with responding to cases of domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse. The police officers are trained in the specific areas of focus and the Unit delivers direct services to victims and is designed to improve the response of all Police Stations throughout Grenada. 

The Central Statistical Office, following the WHO model, is monitoring progress of these new policies and the results are expected to form the basis for evidence-based programming.

In March 2020, Grenada joined the Spotlight Initiative (a €500million project led by the European Union). The Caribbean will receive €50 million for implementation of a Caribbean Regional Programme as well as a number of country-level programmes. Grenada is one of six countries selected in the Caribbean, together with Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago that will benefit from a specific country allocation to respond to family violence (9).

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