The majority of the people cling to traditional village life. The extended family system ensures that no islanders starve, while church missions and the social development section of the Education Ministry concentrate on rural development and youth activities. The government incorporates family planning into its overall maternal and child health program. A provident fund system provides lump-sum benefits for old age, disability, and death. Workers contributed 3% of earnings and employers contribute 3% of payroll. Pensions are provided at the age of 55.
Women are still largely confined to traditional cultural roles, and most marriages include a "bride-price" that encourages men to consider their wives as possessions. Women generally do not own land. Village chiefs usually act to reinforce the subordinate roles of women and are thus viewed as a primary obstacle to female advancement. There are no female leaders in Vanuatu's civic, business, or religious institutions. A disproportionate number of women lost their jobs due to cutbacks in government employment. Violence against women, especially domestic abuse, is common.
Human rights are generally well respected in Vanuatu.