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Curbing marital violence through social policies: perspectives from the Bangladesh demographic and health survey
Authors: Sanjukta Chaudhuri, and Shahnaz Abdullah
Source: International Journal of Public Policy , 10(1-3); DOI:
Topic(s): Domestic violence
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Women’s empowerment
Country: Asia
Published: JAN 2014
Abstract: Women’s empowerment is usually regarded as an effective way of reducing their vulnerability to martial violence. In Bangladesh, the microfinance revolution resulted in an unprecedented surge in women’s economic empowerment. However, the expectation that economic empowerment will reduce marital violence has been belied in Bangladesh, which continues to have one of the highest rates of marital violence in the world. Our objective was to study the correlates of marital violence and hence to suggest social policies to mitigate marital violence in Bangladesh. We examined the association of three aspects of women’s empowerment – education, paid work, and non-governmental organisation (NGO) membership with marital violence. We find that a woman who is educated, performs paid work, and holds NGO membership is least likely to be a victim of marital violence. We demonstrate that in the face of well-established patriarchal values in Bangladesh, piecemeal policies are likely to be insufficient in mitigating marital violence. Instead, our study calls for comprehensive social policy packages that simultaneously encourage all three aspects of women’s empowerment. Keywords: marital violence, Bangladesh, education, paid work, NGO, microfinance