During its struggle for independence, the EPLF created an elaborate system of social services. It launched a literacy program, a health care system (including hospitals), and a food distribution network. The provisional government mandated equal pay for equal work, and equal educational opportunities. However, in practice, traditional male privileges in education, employment, and the domestic sphere largely persist as a result of ingrained custom and uneven enforcement of the law. Domestic violence and abuse are pervasive and is it not addressed by the government. Officially the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is condemned but it remains widespread.
Refugee repatriation programs are in progress. Because tens of thousands of refugees remain homeless when they return to Eritrea, the government has allocated a significant budget for construction of housing, schools, and clinics.
The government does not allow international human rights organizations to monitor prison conditions, and freedom of the press is restricted.