Provision of health services, including maternal and child care, nutrition programs, environmental sanitation, safe water distribution, and basic education, is a social goal of the Guinea-Bissau government. There is no formal social welfare system in place.
Although officially prohibited by law, discrimination against women persists. Women have little access to education, and are responsible for most of the work on subsistence farms. The illiteracy rate for women is 82 percent. Domestic abuse against women is not only widespread, but also socially acceptable. Among certain ethnic groups, women are prohibited from owning property. Female genital mutilation is a common practice.
Some cases of arbitrary detention and the use of excessive force were reported, and members of the security forces were not held accountable for abuses of detainees' rights.