New Article from Studies in Family Planning on
Decline of Intimate Partner Violence in Bangladesh
"Perceived decline in intimate partner violence against women in Bangladesh: Qualitative evidence," by Sidney Ruth Schuler, Rachel Lenzi, Sohela Naznee, and Lisa M. Bates
NEW YORK (5 September 2013) — Some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the world have been reported in Bangladesh. In recent years, the Bangladesh government, NGOs, donors, and advocates have introduced interventions to promote gender equality, increase women's empowerment, and reduce IPV. These efforts have expanded girls' access to primary and secondary education, increased Bangladeshi wives' contribution to their families' income, and reduced gender disparities, but studies have yet to assess the impact of these changes on the incidence of IPV.
Building on 20 years of prior research in Bangladesh, the authors present qualitative findings drawn from group discussions, open-ended interviews with men, and women's life history narratives conducted recently in four villages in central and northern Bangladesh. The authors find a broad consensus that intimate partner violence has declined substantially. Villagers attribute the decline in the incidence of IPV to a variety of factors, including:
- A change in the balance of power between men and women
- Increased economic prosperity due to women’s greater involvement in generating income
- Influence of government actions to promote gender equity and access to mediation and legal sanctions to help safeguard women
- Reduction of community and village poverty as a result of women’s increased employment
- Increase in shared household responsibilities and gender equity within the home
These findings suggest that IPV in Bangladesh is declining as interventions expand women's economic roles and provide them with a stronger sense of their rights. The authors recommend that government and donor programs and policies continue to promote economic improvements and employment opportunities for rural women, and continue to provide scholarships and other initiatives that expand educational opportunities for girls and women. The authors also recommend that national-level survey data be collected to confirm their findings, and that periodic surveys be conducted to measure trends in the incidence of IPV in settings where transitions in gender systems are underway.
Studies in Family Planning is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal concerned with all aspects of reproductive health, fertility regulation, and family planning programs, and their relation to health and development in both developing and developed countries. SFP is published quarterly on behalf of the Population Council by Wiley-Blackwell.The Population Council conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research. We deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world.
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