Guinea-Bissau has had a troublesome history starting with liberation war against Portuguese colonial powers, turning into civil war and various oppressive and cleptocratic dictatorships. After a military coup d'état a rupturing but short civil war was ended only by a Senegalese intervention in 1998. Since that, a democratically elected government is working on rebuilding the country, but instability remains. Poverty is widespread. Violence and discrimination against women are problems. Female genital mutilation is widely practiced. Each women in Guinea-Bissau averagely gives birth to 5.27 children (2000 est.)


Social data
Life expectancy:
Total population: 49.04 years; male: 46.77 years; female: 51.37 years (2000 est.)
Infant mortality: 112.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Literacy rate: Total population: 53.9%; male: 67.1%; female: 40.7% (1997 est.)
Medical services: 64% of the population have access to medical services. (5.555 persons per doctor)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female; total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Religious data:
Muslim 37%, traditional African religions 51.3%, Christian 11.7%


Family and tradition
Infibulation, the most extreme and dangerous form of female genital mutilation (FGM), is practiced by members of Fula ethnic groups, particularly those in rural areas. Due to tradition, women are responsible for most of the work in these areas. Among certain ethnic groups, women cannot own or manage land or inherit property. Wife beating is an accepted mean of settling domestic disputes.


Gender sensitivity in society
The Constitution and law prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and religion. However, in practice, the Government does not enforce these provisions effectively. Discrimination against women persists, although officially it is prohibited by law. Women are responsible for most work on subsistence farms and have limited access to education, especially in rural areas. Women do not have equal access to employment. Among certain ethnic groups, women cannot own or manage land or inherit property.


Health data
Access to potable water:
Medical services: 64% of the population have access to medival services. ( 5.555 persons per doctor)
Maternal mortality rate: 910/100.000
Infant mortality: 112,25 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): FGM is widely practiced within certain ethnic groups, especially the Fulas and the Mandinkas. The practice is increasing as the population becomes more Muslim, and is being performed not only on adolescent girls, but also on babies as young as 4 months old. Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, is widely practiced within certain ethnic groups. The Government has not outlawed the practice. However, it has formed a national committee, which is conducting a nationwide education campaign to discourage it. International NGO's, including the Swedish group Radda Barnen and Plan International, as well as several domestic NGO's, such as Friends of Children and Sinim Mira Nasseque, are working through the national committee to eliminate FGM. The efforts of both domestic and international groups, largely suspended after the outbreak of fighting in June 1998, resumed in many parts of the country in February.


Violence against women
Physical violence, including wife beating, is an accepted means of settling domestic disputes. Although police intervene in domestic disputes if requested, the Government has not undertaken specific measures to counter social pressure against reporting domestic violence, rape, incest, and other mistreatment of women.


Main sources: U.S. Department of State, CIA, UN, Mundo negro