The Bahamas - Social development

Workers' compensation and retirement, maternity, survivors', and funeral benefits are provided for, with specific terms set out by the National Insurance Board. Contributions are shared by employers and employees; rates are progressive, depending on weekly wages earned. There is also a maternity grant for each live birth.

Bahamian women are well represented in business, the professions, and government. However, activists are calling for improved child care availability to encourage more women to enter the labor force. The Constitution does not allow foreign-born husbands of Bahamian women to become citizens. Inheritance laws also discriminate against women by mandating that in the absence of a will, a deceased person's estate be passed on the oldest son or nearest male relative. The government has established a Women's Affairs Unit to monitor and promote the rights of women. The government authorized establishment of two battered women's shelters and a toll-free hotline to deal with the widespread problem of domestic violence.

Human rights are generally respected by the government, although there are occasional reports of arbitrary arrest and detention and abuse of detainees.

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