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Demography. 2003 May;40(2):269-88.

Women's status and domestic violence in rural Bangladesh: individual- and community-level effects.

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  • 1Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


We explore the determinants of domestic violence in two rural areas of Bangladesh. We found increased education, higher socioeconomic status, non-Muslim religion, and extended family residence to be associated with lower risks of violence. The effects of women's status on violence was found to be highly context-specific. In the more culturally conservative area, higher individual-level women's autonomy and short-term membership in savings and credit groups were both associated with significantly elevated risks of violence, and community-level variables were unrelated to violence. In the less culturally conservative area, in contrast, individual-level women's status indicators were unrelated to the risk of violence, and community-level measures of women's status were associated with significantly lower risks of violence, presumably by reinforcing nascent normative changes in gender relations.

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