The convention on the
elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
preamble of the founding Charter of the United Nations in 1945 members declared
their faith "in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the
human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women was
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979.
the first comprehensive code of women's rights in international law.
convention was ratified by Jamaica in 1981. In 1985 Jamaica further committed
itself to the struggle for women's equality by adopting the Forward Looking
Strategies generated at the Third Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya.
have an equal right with men to educational opportunities. Pregnant school girls
are allowed to sit examinations and to continue their education.
unlawful to exclude women from public, civil or judicial office because of their
sex or marital status.
are entitled to equal pay for equal work; to protection against harassment; to a
safe work environment and when pregnant to maternity leave.
18 years of age and over and widows may marry without parental consent. Females
under 18 but over 16 years of age need to have the consent of her father, mother
or guardian. If the consent is
unreasonably withheld, a woman may take the matter to the Supreme Court for the
order to permit the marriage.
is no provision for polygamous marriages, Muslim or otherwise. On the death of
one of the parties in a common-law union, who has not made a will, the other
party is entitled to the same benefits as a married woman in that situation.
Dissolution of Marriage
marriage can be dissolved on a single no-fault ground - 12 month's separation.
The court recognizes foreign divorces. The
arrangements for children must be satisfactory before a marriage is dissolved.
The court can make financial arrangements for the wife under a petition for
dissolution of marriage.
born out of wedlock have equal status as children born in wedlock.
In guardian and custody proceedings, the welfare of the child is the
paramount concern. Periodic payments can he ordered for monetary support of
woman has an equal right of consent with the child's father for issuance of
passports to her children.
as a woman acquires the citizenship of her husband, men who marry Jamaican women
can acquire Jamaican citizenship by registration. An adopted child derives
citizenship through his adopted mother or father.
whether single or married, have the right to purchase, sell and own property in
their own names.
have an equal right with men to apply for a declaration for their interest in
property where they have made a contribution towards its acquisition, directly
case of actual or threatened domestic violence a woman can obtain protection and
occupation orders in the Resident Magistrates Courts. If she is married, the
Supreme Court can also grant an injunction for her personal protection so as to
restrain her husband from entering the home or her work place.
are also protected from exploitation through trafficking and prostitution which
are criminal offences.
following are criminal offences:
Institutions in Jamaica with responsibility for ensuring the equal rights of women with men
The Bureau of Women's Affairs:
established in 1975, monitors government policy on women.
The Association of Women's Organizations of Jamaica (A WOJA):
founded in 1987, umbrella organization to coordinate
activities of women's organizations island wide.
Women's Crisis Centres:
Lauched in 1985, there are now Centres in both Kingston and
The Women's Political Caucus:
established in 1992, facilitates women's participation in
The St. Peter Claver Women's Housing Cooperative:
commenced in 1980 as a self-help group to provide
low-income housing for women.
The Women's Construction Collective:
trains women in construction skills and assists in
Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS):
provides coordination and training for a variety of
organizations, including special programmes for women.
The Sistren Theatre Collective:
started in 1997, use drama to mobilize women and community
Centre for Gender and Development Studies:
established in 1983 of University of the West Indies.
operating since 1984, to promote the welfare of women, runs
a Crisis Centre and shelter.
Jamaica Household Workers Association:
Set up in 1991 to represent the needs and interest of
SOME IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
YOU HAVE LEGAL RIGHTS.
THEM TO PROTECT YOURSELF!