The West African islands of São Tomé and Principe were founded by the Portuguese, who exploited the islands for their slave-grown coffee and sugar. The islands became independent in 1975, but the road to democracy has been rocky. The population of 212,679 is made up of mestico descendants of Angolan slaves; Forros descendants of freed slaves; servicais laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde; the children of servicais; and Europeans. Most São Toméans are Roman Catholic (70.3 percent), and Portuguese is still the official language. Despite constitutional and legal guarantees of equality, São Toméan women are discriminated against.

To combat this, the Gender Equality Institute of the Office of Women's Affairs has sponsored a number of seminars and workshops to educate the public about that discrimination. ...

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