Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo
This paper aims at shedding light on the relationship between women’s empowerment and domestic violence. For this, we explore different ways to measure women’s empowerment and domestic violence, and analyze whether the relation depends on the definitions used. We take advantage of a rich data set collected in rural Colombia, including several measures of self-esteem, disagreement towards domestic violence, participation in household decisions and social capital; and analyze the relationship with both aggressive and controlling ways of domestic violence. The results indicate that the different measures of women’s empowerment help explain much better the aggressive ways of domestic violence than the controlling ones. Our results show a positive correlation between women’s empowerment and domestic violence. This goes in line with the theories that argue that men use violence as a way to leverage their power within the household. Among the different latent measures of women’s empowerment we used, we found that social capital and self-esteem are significantly correlated with aggressive domestic violence. We do not find that more common proxies, such as women’s participation in household decisions, are significantly correlated to domestic violence.
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