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Women in Jamaica experience higher levels of unemployment than men- 16.8% for women and 9.5% for men (3), however almost half of Jamaican women are both the main breadwinners and caregivers in their households (3). This is despite the fact that more women than men are outside the labour force- 446,200 women compared to 290,800 men (3). Whilst 49.3% of women consider themselves to be the head of the household (5), women overall have less say in decision-making and less access to resources (6). Women’s income is also 39% lower than men’s, on average (6). 0.9% of employed women are living below the international poverty line compared to 0.8% of employed men (1).


The adolescent birth rate, whilst having declined, was 51.7 per every 1000 births in 2017 (1)- this is higher than the global average as 59 out of every 1000 adolescent girls will become pregnant (6). In the same year, for every 100,000 live births there were 80 maternal deaths (2). Only 7% of mothers with newborns are in receipt of maternity cash benefits (1).

Violence against women

In 2018, 7.3% of women reported having been subjected to intimate partner violence in the part year (1) and it is estimated that 27.8% of all partnered women will experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives (5). There is also an estimated 23% prevalence of non-partner sexual violence (5). The pandemic, however, impacted many women experiencing domestic violence; 57.8% of women believed that harsh economic conditions created by the pandemic worsened or contributed to domestic violence. 81.3% believed that the pandemic of essential services for victims and 70.7% of victims said that they did not report violence to the police throughout the pandemic (5). In 2020, for every 100,000 women in Jamaica, 0.5 were killed by an intimate or former partner (2).

No research on male victims or other gender identities.


Many women in Jamaica are pursuing an education and 70% of those enrolled in tertiary education institutions are women (3)- 2.29 times more women than men go to university and/or college (6). Furthermore, less girls than boys are out of primary/lower secondary school (15.85 of girls compared to 17% of boys) (1). Despite this, literacy rates are 92.7% for men and only 88.1% for men (1).

Political representation of women

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of female legislators increased from 13.3% to 28.6% (2). In 2018, 68.2% of judges in the highest court were women which is extremely positive (2), however whilst this imbalance favours women, male judges occupy the top positions at each level (4).18.6% of city councillors between 2017 and 2018 were women (2), however in the same year, there were no female elected mayors (2).

Current law and policy:

Jamaica commits to ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and implement national plan to end gender-based violence. The Government of Jamaica has joined UN Women’s COMMIT initiative and pledged to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Furthermore, as a matter of priority, the government has committed to implement the National Strategic Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.

Public spending - A 1993 study of 640 victims of intimate partner violence and other types of violence at the Kingston Public Hospital in Jamaica. Total costs were $454 000 or $709 per patient, including materials, drugs and doctors' fees (7). The World Bank estimated that violence against women costs countries on average around 1.2-3.7% of GDP. For Jamaica, the estimated figure is J$57 billion - more than the Government of Jamaica's expenditures for the health sector in 2014 (8).

Frontline Services:



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