Frederick G. Alen and Su-Je Cho
Without progress in the situation of women, there can be no true
social development. Human rights are not worthy of the name if
they exclude the female half of humanity. The struggle for women's
equality is part of the struggle for a better world for all human be-
ings, and all societies.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, United Nations secretary-general
Violence against women is a major social problem in Jamaica. However, through new dynamics of women in Jamaica they have begun to speak out about the many kinds of violence in their lives and to expose the underlying social and cultural attitudes toward women and women's roles. The new women's movement in Jamaica is on a mission to dramatize that the violence against women constitutes a major obstacle to the nation's development as a whole, because of the many ways in which this violence retards the potential and the full and equal participation of women in Jamaica.
For any country to develop, the full and equal participation of all citizens is necessary. The developing Caribbean island nation of Jamaica received its independence from Britain in 1962. At the end of 1997 the population was estimated at 2,553,600, consisting predominantly of persons of African descent. Whites, Middle Easterners, Chinese, East Indians, and other mixed races accounted for approximately 10 percent of the population.1 The island has various natural resources including bauxite (a source for aluminum) and various agricultural products that are major sources of revenue. Tourism is