Gender Equality in Haiti Largely Unrecognized Despite Good Intentions

The government of Haiti (GOH) guarantees women many basic civil rights, but in truth the female gender suffers blatant discrimination in many areas. The island, unlike many developed countries, remains a steadfastly patriarchal nation. Although many laws exist that acknowledge women's parity with men, they are not well-written and unlikely to be enforced.


The GOH does not take seriously any of the legal protections afforded women for gender equality. It has signed many international conventions, yet Haiti is listed as 158th among187 countries surveyed under the Human Development Index.

In social, work, finance, and family matters contradictions appear between what is written and what is practiced. For example, the social role of men is as leader of the family, empowered to make all financial decisions. But statistically, 42% of women are the primary decision-makers in their homes. In work situations, women's labor is subsidiary to males, frequently resulting in no wages due to their inferior social status.

In the realm of personal finance, it seems no limits are put on women acquiring different forms of credit. However, the reverse is true. Bank regulations require a form of asset guarantee, which women rarely possess.

Haiti does have a women's movement, which tackles issues affecting gender equality for women. They lobby, advocate, and introduce legislation for improvement in women's issues. But they occupy only six seats in Parliament. Their Ministry for the Status of Women has not experienced much forward movement due to GOH's inconstancy.

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