It is established scientifically that there is a correlation between levels of gender equality and levels of violence in a society. Causality however has not been scientifically proven – yet, even though some publications (including my thesis) suggest that higher equality levels may lead to lower levels of violence.
Correlation between gender and violence
Research initiated some twenty years ago showed strong relationships between the many indicators of gender equality on the one hand and armed conflict and human rights abuse on the other. In these early studies gender equality was measured using data on the ratio of women in parliament, the duration of female suffrage, the ratio of women in the labour force and fertility rates.
It was established that states that had higher levels of gender equality in these fields were much less likely to experience both civil war and armed conflicts with other countries than those with lower levels of equality. These states also had much lower rates of human rights abuse and corruption than states with lower levels of gender equality.
Later research has found even that the single best predictor of levels of violence in a society is the level of women’s physical security – an indicator of gender equality.
While the correlation is clear, strong and statistically significant, the causality is not scientifically proved – yet (even though my thesis (PDF, 2,1 Mb) strongly reinforces the theoretical assumptions of causality). This is because it is almost impossible to isolate such complex phenomena as equality and violence in our societies so that we can see what influences what.
Essentialist explanations have been largely refuted by the research. These explanations assume that women are inherently more peaceful than men due to their reproductive capacity and that for that reason more women in decision-making would lead to less war and conflict. However, we do know that quite a lot of women have taken part in warfare all over the world and throughout history. This means that women are just as capable of warfare as men but that they just don’t do it to the same extent.
The constructivist approach on the other hand (elaborated on in the section on Gender Equality) tells us that norms on gender roles and gender equality are connected to norms on violence and the use thereof. Research on masculinities has found that traditional norms on masculinity are connected to both norms justifying violence and to aggressive and violent behaviour. (Norms on masculinity tell people what it means to be a “real” man – see also the section on Masculinities).
Furthermore, research on honour cultures, has connected patriarchal norms on control over women, their bodies and sexuality with norms endorsing the use of violence to set right perceived wrongdoings. An example of this research is the extensive studies that have been done on the honour culture in the South of the USA. (As an aside: contrary to what many think, honour cultures also widely exist outside the Islamic world.)
Yet other research suggests that structural inequalities, including gender inequalities but also inequalities due to class, ethnicity, religion and more, are to be seen as structural violence, which in turn can be related to physical violence. It is easier to use violence against groups in society that are perceived as less valuable than the own group than to use violence against groups that are perceived as equals.
Finally, gender inequalities and patriarchal norms are being perpetuated with the help of so-called cultural violence, i.e. through religious, traditional, cultural and language practices that promote gender inequality.
My own research
Building on this and other earlier work, my own research (PhD thesis),
Gender inequality, homophobia and violence: the three pillars of patriarchal norms and their relations, (PDF, 2,1 Mb)
shows that the countries where people disapprove of gender equality and do not accept homosexuality are the countries where the levels of societal violence is the highest. These countries are also the ones most at risk of having an armed conflict on their own territory. On the other hand, the countries where people approve of gender equality and accept homosexuality have low levels of societal violence and the lowest risk of having an armed conflict on their own territory. Surprisingly enough though, these more egalitarian countries are also the ones sending most troops to fight abroad and selling the most arms and weapons, hence exporting violence.
My research also shows that when attitudes towards gender equality and homosexuality change, attitudes towards violence (including state level violence and militarisation) also change and become less accepting. This last finding effectively strengthens the conviction that these relations are causal.
The literature references below are gathered in four groups:
Gender and violence: Literature references
Literature on gender, militarization and armed conflict
Sex and world peace. Hudson, V. M., B. Ballif-Spanvill, et al. (2012). New York and Chichester, West Sussex, Columbia University Press.
Sex and World Peace unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war. The authors compare micro-level gender violence and macro-level state peacefulness in global settings, supporting their findings with detailed analyses and colour maps. Harnessing in immense amount of data, they call attention to discrepancies between national laws protecting women and the enforcement of these laws, and they note the adverse effects on state security of abnormal sex ratios favouring males, the practice of polygamy, and inequitable realities in family law, among other gendered aggressions.
The authors find that the treatment of women informs human interaction at all levels of society. Their research challenges conventional definitions of security and democracy and shows that the treatment of gender, played out on the world stage, informs the true clash of civilizations. in terms of resolving these injustices, the authors examine top-down and bottom-up approaches to healing wounds of violence against women, as well as ways to rectify inequalities in family law and the lack of parity in decision-making councils. Emphasizing the importance of and R2PW, or state responsibility to protect women, they mount a solid campaign against women’s systematic insecurity, which effectively unravels the security of all.
Bananas, beaches & bases. Enloe, C. (1989). Berkely, CA: The University of California Press.
This radical analysis of globalization reveals the crucial role of women in international politics today. Cynthia Enloe pulls back the curtain on the familiar scenes of governments promoting tourism, companies moving their factories overseas, soldiers serving on foreign soil and shows that the real landscape is not exclusively male. She describes how many women’s seemingly personal strategies in their marriages, in their housework, in their coping with ideals of beauty are, in reality, the stuff of global politics. In exposing policymakers’ reliance on false notions of “femininity” and “masculinity,” Enloe dismantles an apparently overwhelming world system, revealing it to be much more fragile and open to change than we think.
Women and war. Elshtain, J. B. (1987). New York, Basic Books.
Jean Elshtain examines how the myths of Man as “Just Warrior” and Woman as “Beautiful Soul” serve to recreate and secure women’s social position as non-combatants and men’s identity as warriors. Elshtain demonstrates how these myths are undermined by the reality of female bellicosity and sacrificial male love, as well as the moral imperatives of just wars.
Gender relations as causal in militarization and war. Cockburn, C. (2010). “Gender Relations as Causal in Militarization and War.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 12(2): 139-157.
Based on empirical research among women’s anti-war organizations worldwide, the article derives a feminist oppositional standpoint on militarization and war. From this standpoint, patriarchal gender relations are seen to be intersectional with economic and ethno-national power relations in perpetuating a tendency to armed conflict in human societies. The feminism generated in anti-war activism tends to be holistic, and understands gender in patriarchy as a relation of power underpinned by coercion and violence. The cultural features of militarization and war readily perceived by women positioned in or close to armed conflict, and their sense of war as systemic and as a continuum, make its gendered nature visible. There are implications in this perspective for anti-war movements. If gender relations are one of the root causes of war, a feminist program of gender transformation is a necessary component of the pursuit of peace.
Gender equality, attitudes to gender equality, and conflict. Ekvall, Å. (2013). In Texler Segal, M. and Demos, V. (eds.) Gendered Perspective on Conflict and Violence (Advances in Gender Research, Volume 18a), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.273-295.
This study looks at the relationship between norms on gender equality on the one hand and the level of gender equality in the political and socioeconomic sphere, the presence or absence of armed conflict, and general peacefulness on the other. Data on gender equality norms from the World Values Surveys, political and socioeconomic gender equality from the Global Gender Gap Index, armed conflict from the Uppsala Conflict Data Base, and general peacefulness from the Global Peace Index are analysed in a bivariate correlation. The results show a significant association between norms on and attitudes toward gender equality and levels of political and socioeconomic gender equality, absence or presence of armed conflict, and level of general peacefulness. The study shows that governments, aid agencies, NGOs and others working on conflict prevention and peace building need to focus on improving gender equality in order to achieve a sustainable decrease in conflict levels and an improvement in general levels of peacefulness.
Stop rape now? Masculinity, responsibility, and conflict-related sexual violence. Grey, R. and L. J. Shepherd (2012). Men and Masculinities 16(1): 115-135.
Inspired by the themes of violence, masculinity and responsibility, this article investigates the visibility of male victims/survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in war. Despite the passing of UNSCR 1820 in 2008, the formulation of UN ACTION (United Nations Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict), and the appointment of a United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General to lead policy and practice in this issue area, we argue here that male survivors/victims remain a marginal concern, which has, among other consequences, profound implications for the facilities that exist to support male victims/survivors during and after periods of active conflict. In the first section of the article, we provide an overview of the contemporary academic literature on rape in war, not only to act as the foundation for the analytical work that follows but also to illustrate the argument that male survivors/victims of sexualized violence in war are near-invisible in the majority of literature on this topic. Second, we turn our analytical lens to the policy environment charged with addressing sexualized violence in conflict. Through a discourse analysis focused on the website of UN ACTION (www.stoprapenow.org), we demonstrate that this lack of vision in academic work maps directly to a lack of visibility in the policy arena. The third section of the article explores the arrangements in place within extant peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction programs that aim to facilitate recovery with victims/survivors of sexualized violence in war. We conclude with reflections on the themes of violence, masculinity and responsibility in the context of sexualized violence in war and suggest that in this context all privileged actors have a responsibility to theorize violence with careful attention to gender in order to avoid perpetuating models of masculinity and war-rape that have potentially pernicious effects.
Gender and international politics: The intersections of patriarchy and militarization. Chenoy, Anuradha M. (2004) India Journal of Gender Studies 11(1): 27-42.
The politics of globalization and militarization are lending a muscular discourse to international politics, which provide continuity to the principle of patriarchy and privilege, especially during times of threat and conflict. This kind of politics has a structural impact on society because it endorses traditional gender roles and places people in binary categories like ‘with us’ or ‘against us’, ‘civilized’ and ‘uncivilized’, ‘warriors’ or ‘wimps’. The militarist discourse marginalizes opposition, diversity and difference, and with this the value of force as part of power is privileged, and militant nationalism exaggerated. Each local culture has its variant of the muscular discourse. As women try and increase their agency, the perception is that when women accept militarist notions of power it is easier for them to become part of national security and state institutions. This is a major challenge to feminist culture and thinking.
Primed for violence: The role of gender inequality in predicting internal conflict. Caprioli, M. (2005). International Studies Quarterly 49(2): 161-178.
We know, most notably through Ted Gurr’s research, that ethnic discrimination can lead to ethnopolitical rebellion-intrastate conflict. I seek to discover what impact, if any, gender inequality has on intrastate conflict. Although democratic peace scholars and others highlight the role of peaceful domestic behaviour in predicting state behaviour, many scholars have argued that a domestic environment of inequality and violence-structural and cultural violence-results in a greater likelihood of violence at the state and the international level. This project contributes to this line of inquiry and further tests the grievance theory of intrastate conflict by examining the norms of violence that facilitate a call to arms. And in many ways, I provide an alternative explanation for the significance of some of the typical economic measures-the greed theory-based on the link between discrimination, inequality, and violence. I test whether states characterized by higher levels of gender inequality are more likely to experience intrastate conflict. Ultimately, the basic link between gender inequality and intrastate conflict is confirmed-states characterized by gender inequality are more likely to experience intrastate conflict, 1960-2001.
Democracy and human rights versus women’s security: A contradiction? Caprioli, M. (2004). Security Dialogue 35(4): 411-428.
Notions of security are often presumed to be gender neutral, with women and men assumed to share the same political freedoms and human rights. However, assumptions of gender neutrality often mask bias. Do democracy and human rights positively relate to women’s security? If a gender bias is inherent in these norms, then any conclusions drawn from studies using such measures will be strictly limited, and policy prescriptions designed to ensure security must move beyond policies focusing on promoting democracy and human rights as currently conceptualized. Using a cross-national, longitudinal analysis, this article systematically examines whether democracy and human rights reflect women’s security, and concludes that neither democracy nor human rights as commonly measured ensure women’s security.
Race, gender, and war. Nincic, M. and D. J. Nincic (2002). Journal of Peace Research 39(5): 547-568.
This article seeks to improve our grasp of the societal foundations of US foreign policy by examining how race and gender — two fundamental dimensions of social stratification of US society — affect support for military force in the pursuit of external objectives. It is generally appreciated that, in the United States, women are less inclined to support armed intervention than are men, and feminist theory provides some foundation for explaining the gap. It is less widely recognized that a similar gap separates the attitudes of African-Americans and white Americans, but there is little in the social science literature to suggest why this should be so. The authors examine a number of possible explanations for the parallel, focusing both on attributes that are specific to women and blacks, and on one common to both groups (a high level of political alienation) but not shared by white men. They conclude that, while alienation partially accounts for the parallel attitudes toward force, properties specific to the two demographic groups nevertheless carry part of the burden for explaining their shared relative aversion to military intervention.
Gender, nation, rape: Bosnia and the construction of security. Hansen, L. (2000). International Feminist Journal of Politics, 3(1), 55-75.
The mass rapes in Bosnia brought gendered security problems onto the international agenda to an unprecedented extent. This article examines the debate surrounding whether these rapes should be characterized as a security problem which warranted international attention and possibly intervention. This debate evolved around the question whether wartime rape should be understood as an individual risk or a collective security problem; and whether it should be defined in national or in gendered terms. The empirical part of the article analyses the three dominant representations of the Bosnian mass rapes: ‘rape as normal/Balkan warfare’ argued that rape did not constitute a collective security problem and the international community had therefore no reason or responsibility to intervene; the “rape as exceptional/Serbian warfare” representation read the rapes through national lenses and argued that the international community should intervene militarily in defence of the Bosnian government; and the third representation, “Balkan patriarchy”, claimed the privileged of a gendered reading of the rapes, the conflict in Bosnian should, according to this discourse, be understood as involving women on the one side and the patriarchal nationalistic leaderships on the other. The article concludes that the political impact of each of the representations is difficult to assess, but that the willingness of the International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to pursue rape-related indictments constitutes an important step towards the recognition of wartime rape as a collective security problem.
Do rights at home boost rights abroad? Sexual equality and humanitarian foreign policy. Brysk, A. and A. Mehta (2013). Journal of Peace Research, 51(1): 97-110.
Does women’s empowerment strengthen global good citizenship? We test theories of democratic foreign policy and feminist international relations that suggest that more deeply democratic countries with greater gender equity will be stronger international human rights promoters. First, the direct empowerment of women as policymakers and civil society constituencies may shift states’ incentives and ability to pursue international human rights initiatives. Second, greater sexual equality may lead to feminist socialization of the wider society to promote human rights values. We test these predictions by measuring the relationship between five different measures of sexual equality and a country’s propensity to support 30 international human rights outcomes, including legal commitments, humanitarian assistance, and sanctions, controlling for previously established contributing factors such as level of development and democratic regime type. We find that more sexually equal countries are more likely to support international commitments to constrain state violence against individuals, international measures to combat gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and more and higher quality development assistance. However, sexual equality appears to yield less benefit for more costly human rights initiatives: yielding sovereignty to international legal institutions, promoting economic rights through concessionary trade policies, or adopting diplomatic sanctions against pariah states. These effects are stronger in democratic states, where citizen empowerment translates more readily into foreign policy, and are also found in a sample that excludes the Western powers.Can tracking rape in conflict prevent genocide? By Alex Zucker/Guest Blogger ; August 7, 2013 Women Under Siege http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/blog/entry/can-tracking-rape-in-conflict-prevent-genocide
Just as rape and other forms of sexualized violence have historically been viewed as a “natural” part of war, they have often been recognized as occurring in genocide but not necessarily as an act of genocide in itself.
Feminist perspectives on 9/11. Tickner, J. A. (2002). International Studies Perspectives 3(4): 333-350.
In this article Tickner offers a feminist analysis of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. She demonstrates how gendered discourses are used in this and other conflict situations to reinforce mutual hostilities. Tickner suggests that men’s association with war, fighting and national security serves to reinforce their legitimacy in world politics while it acts to create barriers for women. Using the framework of a post 9/11 world, she offers some alternative models of masculinity and some cultural representations less dependent on the subordination of women. Often in times of conflict women are seen only as victims. Tickner outlines some ways in which the women of Afghanistan are fighting against gender oppression and concludes with some thoughts on their future prospects.
Women’s access to politics and peaceful states. Regan, P. M. and A. Paskeviciute (2003). Journal of Peace Research 40(3): 287-302.
The article examines the relationship between women in society and the use of force by the state in the international arena. The arguments build on a conception of power relationships found in gender studies and feminist theories, and focus on how the internal distribution of political power at a societal level (as opposed to a state level) will influence the willingness of the ruling elite to engage in militarized interstate disputes and war. That is, the article explores the extent to which fertility rates directly and indirectly – through women’s employment and political office – are associated with the use of force by a state. The authors draw on public opinion literature, which shows that women’s attitudes toward the use of force differ from those of men, to argue that the more women have access to the political process the more constrained will be the state in its use of force. The results of the analysis demonstrate that at the dyadic level, contiguous pairs of countries with low birth rates are less likely to go to war, while, more generally, the lower the birth rates the less likely is a country to become engaged in the more violent of militarized disputes. Our results suggest that policies to promote family planning might be one effective form of managing the amount of interstate violence.Gender equality and intrastate armed conflict. Melander, E. (2005). International Studies Quarterly 49(4): 695-714.
In this article, Melander examines to what extent gender equality is associated with lower levels of intrastate armed conflict. He uses three measures of gender equality: (1) a dichotomous indicator of whether the highest leader of a state is a woman; (2) the percentage of women in parliament; and (3) the female-to-male higher education attainment ratio. Melander argues that the first two measures in particular capture the extent to which women hold positions that allow them to influence matters of war and peace within a state. He further argues that all three measures, but especially the last two, capture how women are valued relative to men in a society, that is, the relative degree of subordination of women. Whereas female state leadership has no statistically significant effect, more equal societies, measured either in terms of female representation in parliament or the ratio of female-to-male higher education attainment, are associated with lower levels of intrastate armed conflict. The pacifying impact of gender equality is not only statistically significant in the presence of a comprehensive set of controls but also is strong in substantive terms.
Political gender equality and state human rights abuse. Melander, E. (2005). Journal of Peace Research 42(2): 149-166.
Feminist theorists argue that more equal societies that are not based on gender hierarchies ought to be less plagued by collective violence. This study tests whether political gender equality is associated with lower levels of personal integrity rights abuse carried out by state agents, such as fewer political imprisonments, torture, killings, and disappearances. Two indicators of political gender equality are used: (1) a dummy indicating that the chief executive of a state is a woman; and (2) the percentage of women in parliament. The impact of political gender equality on personal integrity rights abuse is tested using multiple regression techniques and a dataset spanning most countries of the world during the period 1977-96. Female chief executives are rare, and their tenures are not significantly associated with the level of abuse. The percentage of women in parliament is associated with lower levels of personal integrity rights abuse. Results show both a direct effect of female representation in parliament and an effect in interaction with the level of institutional democracy. These results hold when controlling for the most important factors known or suspected to influence human rights behaviour: democracy, leftist regime, military regime, British colonial experience, civil war, international war, wealth, population, ethnic heterogeneity, and regime transition and collapse.
War and gender: How gender shapes the war system and vice-versa. Goldstein, J. S. (2001). New York, Cambridge University Press.
Goldstein assesses the possible explanations for the near-total exclusion of women from combat forces, through history and across cultures. Topics covered include the history of women who did fight and fought well, the complex role of testosterone in men’s social behaviours, and the construction of masculinity and femininity in the shadow of war. Goldstein concludes that killing in war does not come naturally for either gender, and that gender norms often shape men, women and children to the needs of the war system.
Gender empowerment and United Nations peacebuilding. Gizelis, T.-I. (2009). Journal of Peace Research 46(4): 505-523.
Previous studies have suggested that societies where women have higher social and economic status and greater political representation are less likely to become involved in conflict. In this article, the author argues that the prospects for successful post-conflict peacebuilding under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) are generally better in societies where women have greater levels of empowerment. Women’s status in a society reflects the existence of multiple social networks and domestic capacity not captured by purely economic measures of development such as GDP per capita. In societies where women have relatively higher status, women have more opportunities to express a voice in the peacemaking process and to elicit broader domestic participation in externally led peacekeeping operations. This higher level of participation in turn implies that UN Peacekeeping operations can tap into great social capital and have better prospects for success. An empirical analysis of post-conflict cases with a high risk of conflict recurrence shows that UN peacekeeping operations have been significantly more effective in societies in which women have relatively higher status. By contrast, UN peacekeeping operations in countries where women have comparatively lower social status are much less likely to succeed.
A feminist exploration of military conscription: The gendering of the connections between nationalism, militarism and citizenship in South Korea. Kwon, I. (2000). International Feminist Journal of Politics, 3(1), 26-54.
Despite its political, cultural and personal saliences, military conscription in South Korea has attracted surprisingly little social research. Mainly, such research has been left to military institutions. Also, few South Korean feminist analysts, until recently, have tried to fill this notable gap in political analysis. I have become convinced that we need a deeper, more sustained and explicitly feminist exploration of the multi-layered workings of male compulsory military service. Without understanding the subtle gendering of conscription, we will not be able to make adequate sense of the persistence of a culture of militarism today, even after the end of the cold war, even after a pro-democracy movement pushed the military out of power. Therefore, I seek to demonstrate how male military conscription lies at the core of what most members of society believe it means to be an ‘authentic’ South Korean in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. I show that compulsory male military service has played a crucial role in constructing citizenship, nationhood, masculinity, femininity, motherhood and fatherhood and in creating the essential ‘glue’ that binds each of these six potent ideas to the concept of the nation-state in contemporary South Korea. In addition, I reveal how employing a feminist analysis to explore the meaning and consequence of military conscription in present day South Korean society can have potential value for those researchers investigating the dynamics of political culture in other societies, past and present.
Women, war, and violence: Personal perspectives and global activism. Chandler, R. M., L. K. Fuller, et al., Eds. (2010). New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
Women, War, and Violence: Personal Perspectives and Global Activism draws upon a wide global community of activists, scholars, NGOs, and clinicians to expand the definition of how war and its violent underpinnings affects everyday women and families around the world. Benefiting from first-hand research and definitive assessments of gender-based violence interventions, it invites diverse perspectives of interdisciplinary documentation and storytelling beyond traditional academic writing. Reflecting on anti-militarist activism, structural violence, post-war atrocities, government commissions and policy solutions, WWV sheds new light on war-related gender oppression at the intersections of race, national identity, religion, and social class and the need to promote a new paradigm of the equality of men and women.
Gender and conflict early warning: A framework for action. Schmeidl, S. and E. Piza-Lopez (2002). London, International Alert. http://www.gsdrc.org/go/display&type=Document&id=381
Despite increasing awareness of gender issues in most aspects of conflict processes, it remains largely absent in the pre-conflict context, and the limited, speculative research that does exist suggests that the modelling and analysis of conflict early warning practices would be improved if gender-based perspectives were included. In response, this paper from International Alert and Swisspeace presents an initial framework on how to “engender” conflict early warning.
The paper is divided into two parts: Part one offers a brief overview of definitions, processes and development of conflict early warning. Part two examines links between gender and early warning, and identifies areas where the integration of a gender perspective can improve existing models. By drawing on the experiences of a number of different conflicts throughout the world, a list of gender-sensitive early warning indicators are proposed for the purpose of verification and expansion. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations for future research and action, with particular emphasis on conducting empirical tests on the assumptions put forth.
Early warning and conflict prevention is still largely male dominated, and therefore male biased. However, the heightened visibility of gender-based violence, such as the deliberate use of rape and sexual assault during the conflicts of Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda, has pushed the need to better understand gendered forms of violence into the consciousness of policy makers. In addition:
· Incorporating gender-sensitive indicators into information collection and subsequent analysis allows for previously overlooked signs of instability to be taken into account and concentrates early warning at a grassroots level, anticipating conflict before it spreads to high politics
· Incorporating gender analysis and perspectives into the formulation of response options ensures discriminatory policies are not perpetuated in post- conflict situations, or newfound freedoms reversed
· Engendering early warning also ensures that responses at a political and humanitarian level address the vulnerabilities specific to women and men but also has far reaching benefits that go beyond the protection of vulnerable groups.
A process of positive discrimination is necessary in order to speed up gender mainstreaming and to integrate the different perspectives women can bring. However, simply pushing women into politics will not make for better early warning. Meaningful contributions to conflict prevention through gender mainstreaming will only be achieved if convincing evidence of the benefits of equality between the sexes is demonstrated. In view of the male dominance of early warning and conflict prevention there is a need to increase the numbers of women in agencies working in the field, particularly at decision making levels, who would:
· Work on committing the responding institutions to mainstream gender into their operations, to ensure that preventative mechanisms are gender- sensitive and work on achieving gender balance
· Aim to eliminate existing inequalities and build a critical mass of women who could affect and influence structural processes
· Develop working relationships between governments, large intergovernmental organisations and more decentralised organisations such as NGOs and local networks including women’s organisations· Develop effective systems that proactively draw on micro-level, grassroots efforts involving the larger population, rather than top-down approaches that tend to focus solely on high politics.
War, women, peace, progress of the world’s women. Rehn, E. and E. Johnson Sirleaf (2002). New York, UNIFEM. http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2002/1/women-war-peace-the-independent-experts-assessment-on-the-impact-of-armed-conflict-on-women-and-women-s-role-in-peace-building-progress-of-the-world-s-women-2002-vol-1
Historically, the world has been silent about the situation of women in war, almost as silent as the women who remain on the side-lines during war or who are excluded from peace negotiations. In addition, women often lack the confidence and the knowledge needed to participate in peace building and reconstruction. But change is possible. “Women, War and Peace” provides examples of women in embattled regions who have been able to overcome the odds and contribute to the safety and well-being of their communities. Personal stories are shared of women involved in peace efforts. During the Taliban regime, women in Afghanistan held secret meetings, creating maps of underground home schools and medical help, and dispersed this knowledge with other women. In Sudan, women from opposing ethnic and religious groups joined together to discuss peace; a task that men had not been successful in accomplishing. This consortium of stories reveals that, around the world, much could be accomplished if women had proper support and training. “Women, War and Peace” provides similar recommendations at the end of each chapter so that educators, policy makers or anyone interested in women and peace can understand the steps that would lead to greater progress in the area of peace and conflict resolution. “Women, War and Peace” covers topics such as peace operations, use of media, reconstruction, health, and prevention. By sharing the personal stories of women involved in these efforts, the book shows that through willingness and support, there is hope that women will be continually involved in peace operations.
The women and war reader. L. A. Lorentzen, Turpin, J. (1998). New York, New York University Press.
War affects women in profoundly different ways than men. Women play many roles during wartime: they are “gendered” as mothers, as soldiers, as munitions makers, as caretakers, as sex workers. How is it that womanhood in the context of war may mean, for one woman, tearfully sending her son off to war, and for another, engaging in civil disobedience against the state? Why do we think of war as “men’s business” when women are more likely to be killed in war and to become war refugees than men?
The Women and War Reader brings together the work of the foremost scholars on women and war to address questions of ethnicity, citizenship, women’s agency, policy making, women and the war complex, peacemaking, and aspects of motherhood. Moving beyond simplistic gender dichotomies, the volume leaves behind outdated arguments about militarist men and pacifist women while still recognizing that there are patterns of difference in men’s and women’s relationships to war.
The Women and War Reader challenges essentialist, class-based, and ethnocentric analysis. A comprehensive volume covering such regions as the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, Iran, Nicaragua, Chiapas, South Africa, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and India, it will provide a much-needed resource. The volume includes the work of over 35 contributors, including Cynthia Enloe, Sara Ruddick, V. Spike Peterson, Betty Reardon, April Carter, Leila J. Rupp, Harriet Hyman Alonso, Francine D’Amico, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, and Carolyn Nordstrom.
Women building peace: What they do, why it matters. Naraghi Anderlini, S. (2007). Boulder, London, Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini’s book, Women building peace: What they do, why it matters, offers an account of the role women play in supporting peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction. Much of the discourse surrounding women in conflict and peacebuilding focuses on women’s experiences of victimization, on sexual and gender-based violence, on the loss of livelihoods. As a result, the literature focusing on the relationship between women and peace is itself a small subset of the peacebuilding literature that tends to look at what peacebuilding processes can do for women.
Anderlini insists that this overlooks a crucial issue: the role women can play “and indeed are already playing“ in supporting peace in conflict-affected areas. In her book, she argues that, despite the mixed success of existing efforts to support women’s substantive inclusion in peacebuilding, women and women’s movements are already significant actors in conflict-affected areas. They are already engaging extensively and in a valuable way in peacebuilding, peacemaking, and post-conflict reconstruction. This is a useful observation that often goes unaddressed in other works.The book explores the roles of women in several key areas of peacebuilding: transforming violence and non-violent strategies for conflict prevention and peace negotiations.
Engendering the peace process. A gender approach to Dayton – and beyond. Lithander, A. (2000). Stockholm, Kvinna till Kvinna. https://www.peacewomen.org/assets/file/Resources/NGO/kvinna_engenderingthepeaceprocess_2000.pdf
During war and armed conflicts, particularly internal ones, civil society is usually represented to a great extent by women and women’s organisations, responsible for holding the societies together and ensuring the safety for children and the elderly. Consequently, as women experience the immediate consequences of war on civil society, they are in general the first to work for peace and reconciliation. Still, women’s experiences from times of war are seldom acknowledged in peace negotiations, where the standards for the reconstruction of war-torn societies are set. The negotiators around the peace table are predominately male representatives of the fighting parties, concentrating on negotiating an end to war. But if sustainable peace is to be reached, women’s experiences cannot be excluded. Ensuring women’s participation enhances the legitimacy of the process by making it more democratic and responsive to the priorities of all sectors of the affected population. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (KtK) contribution to “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty First Century” (Beijing+5) is a report on the gender aspect in the Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia and Herzegovina and its implementation, based on the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995. The Dayton Peace Accords, adopted by the Presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia in December1995, was the first major peace agreement to be signed after the Beijing conference.
Gender inclusive. Essays on violence, men and feminist international relations. Jones, A. (2009). London and New York, Routledge.
Offers a reinterpretation of gender and mass violence. This work explores issues surrounding ‘gendercide’ including: how gender shapes men and women as victims and perpetrators of mass violence, including genocide. It discusses genocidal violence throughout modern history, with a particular focus on the Balkans and Rwanda.
Gender and violence: Literature on violence against women
Reshaping attitudes toward violence against women. Flood, Michael, Bob Pease, Natalie Taylor & Kim Webster (2009). In: Evan Stark & Eve S. Buzawa (eds) Violence against Women in Families and Relationships: The Media and Cultural Attitudes, vol. 4. Santa Barbara, Denver, Oxford: Praeger (177-198).
Since the early 1970s, when the grassroots women’s movement mounted its challenge to rape and domestic violence, there has been a worldwide revolution in societal responses to violence against women. Among the changes, the best known are the proliferation of community-based services for victims and reforms in public policy, law, policing, and health care. What is less well-known is whether the revolution in societal intervention is reflected in how ordinary citizens think about violence against women. However important institutional reforms are in the short term, they are unlikely to be sustained unless the normative climate changes that supports violence against women.
How widespread is the belief that women “ask to be raped”, that there are circumstances in which it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman, or that violence against women is acceptable? Do people feel empathy for women who are assaulted or raped, or do they blame the victim and excuse the perpetrator? Why do some family members, friends, and professionals respond to victims with support and sympathy, while others respond with indifference or blame? Why do some men use violence against women and others do not? Why do some victims feel self-blame, while others do not? We know that individual and community attitudes shape how women and men experience and understand violence against women. More than this, these attitudes influence the perpetration of this violence, community responses to violence against women, how victims respond to assault, and whether institutional reforms can be sustained.
This chapter provides an international perspective on attitudes toward violence against women. It begins by identifying the role attitudes play in shaping the problem. Next, it provides an international picture of existing attitudes and identify the key factors that shape them. Finally, it identifies critical junctures where interventions to change violence-supportive attitudes can make a difference.
Rethinking the significance of attitudes in preventing men’s violence against women. Pease, B. and M. Flood (2008). Australian Journal of Social issues 43(4): 547-561.
The concept of attitudes has been an important component of campaigns to address men’s violence against women. Attitudes have been examined in relation to men’s perpetration of violence, women’s experience of violence and community and institutional responses. In this article we argue that there has not been sufficient interrogation of the limitations of attitudes in understanding and addressing men’s violence. We propose a social constructionist approach to attitudes and emphasize the need to locate attitudes within the context of familial, organizational, community and social norms which support violence against women. Furthermore, we argue that to prevent violence against women, we must develop interventions beyond cultural and attitudinal change to encompass changes in structural relations and social practice.
Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Flood, Michael & Bob Pease (2009). Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 10(2): 125-142.
Attitudes toward men’s violence against women shape both the perpetration of violence against women and responses to this violence by the victim and others around her. For these reasons, attitudes are the target of violence-prevention campaigns. To improve understanding of the determinants of violence against women and to aid the development of violence-prevention efforts, this article reviews the factors that shape attitudes toward violence against women. It offers a framework with which to comprehend the complex array of influences on attitudes toward violent behavior perpetrated by men against women. Two clusters of factors, associated with gender and culture, have an influence at multiple levels of the social order on attitudes regarding violence. Further factors operate at individual, organizational, communal, or societal levels in particular, although their influence may overlap across multiple levels. This article concludes with recommendations regarding efforts to improve attitudes toward violence against women.
Current practices to preventing sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Flood, Michael (2015) In: Holly Johnson; Bonnie S. Fisher & Vronique Jaquier (eds) Critical Issues on Violence Against Women. London and New York: Routledge (209-220).
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence are the outcome of a complex interplay of individual, relationship, community, institutional, and societal factors. Given this, violence prevention too must work at these multiple levels. This is recognized in common models of violence prevention, including the “ecological” model popularized by the World Health Organization and other frameworks such as the “spectrum of prevention”. This chapter describes and assesses a range of strategies of primary prevention – strategies to prevent initial perpetration or victimization. These strategies are intended to strengthen individual knowledge and skills, build healthy relationships and families, involve and develop communities, promote community norms of nonviolence, improve organizational practices and workplace and institutional cultures, lessen gender inequalities, and address the larger cultural, social and economic factors that contribute to violence. The chapter takes as given that much intimate partner and sexual violence concern men’s violence against women.
“Honour”: Crimes, paradigms, and violence against women. Welchman, L. and S. Hossain, Eds. (2005). New York, Zed Books.
This volume brings together the practical insights and experiences of individuals and organizations addressing so-called “honour crimes”, including “honour killings”, and interference with the right to marry, as well as analysing relevant crosscutting thematic issues. In addition, this book identifies relevant intersecting thematic issues from practice-orientated academic perspective. It seeks to highlight a human rights-based framework in seeking to address “crimes of honour” rather than taking a culturally relativist approach.Honour Related Violence: A European Resource Book and Good Practice-Based on the European Project “Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls in Patriarchal Families”. Kvinnoforum (2005). Stockholm, Kvinnoforum/European Commission DG Social Affairs and Employment. http://www.medinstgenderstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/hrvresourcebook.pdf
This Resource Book is one of the outcomes of a European project regarding honour related violence. The purpose of this Resource Book is to increase and improve the support to those who suffer from honour related violence (HRV), and to prevent the future occurrence of this violence. The resource Book gives an overview of the present situation of HRV in the respective countries that have participated in this project, and discusses the level of occurrence of HRV. It also points out important findings and recommendations for future work against HRV in the affected countries. This Resource Book also provides a presentation of examples of good practice. We have chosen to highlight a number of good examples of supportive and preventive work from both authorities and civil societies organisations to cover different areas in regards to working against HRV, but there are many more. Additional contacts can be found in the end of each country report in an overview of organisations working against HRV, and the various preventive and supportive work they do. There is also presentation of initiatives, contact persons and resource groups from different authorities.
Religion, Culture and the Politicization of Honour-Related Violence: A Critical Analysis of Media and Policy Debates in Western Europe and North America. Korteweg, Anna C. and Yurdakul, Gökçe. (2010). UNRISD Paper No. 12. https://www.eui.eu/Documents/RSCAS/Research/MWG/201011/11-10-KortewegAndYurdakul.pdf
Over the past decade, the issue of honour-related violence (including honour killing and forced marriage) has entered media and policy debates in immigrant-receiving countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Britain and Canada. In some of these countries, media debate has instigated policy debate. This paper analyses how media, parliaments and other state institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) conceptualize honour killing and honour-related violence in order to uncover how such conceptualizations inform policy responses. The analysis reveals three main trends:
i. discussions that link honour killing to Islam and/or the backwardness of immigrant communities in ways that lead to the stigmatization of entire immigrant communities;
ii. culture-blind portrayals of honour-related violence as domestic violence or violence against women that do not pay attention to cultural specificities; and
iii. debates that are contextually specific, framing honour-related violence as a contextually informed form of violence against women that occurs within particular immigrant communities but where this violence does not essentialize the culture and practices of those communities as a whole.
The paper shows that these discursive conceptualizations inform different policy approaches to the issue. Korteweg and Yurdakul contend that discussions of honour-related violence that stigmatize are more likely to lead to general anti-immigrant policies or policies that impede settlement. Debates that frame honour-related violence as a variant of the generally widespread problem of domestic violence and violence against women are more likely to lead to policies that directly target these forms of violence.
The country-specific findings show that the stigmatization of Muslim communities is present in media and political debates in each country, albeit in varying degrees. In the Netherlands, the authors found contextually specific policy making, which was embedded in the country’s multiculturalist tradition. Although there is a recent debate on the decline of multiculturalism in the Netherlands, institutional structures still permit immigrant-oriented and inclusive political decision-making processes. The policies against gendered violence in the Netherlands are largely contextually specific, integrating different actors (such as NGOs, shelters and police) and aiming for prevention and protection as well as prosecution. By contrast, the German media and political debates are particularly stigmatizing without informing or offering alternative ways of policy making. This has led to policies that generally restrict immigration rather than those that directly target gendered violence in immigrant communities. In Britain, perhaps the most paradoxical case of all four countries, stigmatization and contextually specific approaches were both present. The recent shift from British multiculturalism to social cohesion policies brings a new approach to dealing with immigrant-related issues in the country in general, and policy approaches to gendered violence in immigrant communities has partially reflected this shift in immigrant integration policies. Culture-blind portrayals of honour-related violence are especially prevalent in Canadian media and political debates. In Canada, violence against women in immigrant communities is discussed only within the domestic violence framework, ignoring the immigration context that may affect this kind of violence. Therefore, no policies in Canada specifically acknowledge, define or target honour-related violence.
The authors suggest that policy responses will be effective only insofar as gendered violence is understood within its social, cultural and political context and if that context is not seen as foreign but rather as part of the new social relations in the immigrant-receiving society. Hence, they argue that honour-related violence needs to be understood not as a “cultural” or “religious” problem that afflicts particular immigrant communities (in this case, often those perceived and represented as Muslim) but as a specific manifestation of the larger problem of violence against women (which concerns all communities, whether immigrant or not) that in the case of immigrant communities is shaped and informed by the immigration experience. Only a contextually specific approach allows for this understanding.
Honour and violence. Blok, A. (2001). Cambridge, Polity Press.
Blood is culturally associated with virginity and procreation, and therefore also imbues the bonds between in-laws. The comparative study of violence suffers several handicaps. The most important is the dominant conception of violence in modern societies in which the means of violence have since long been monopolized by the state. Precisely because of the stability of this relatively impersonal monopoly and the resulting pacification of society at large, people have developed strong feelings about using and witnessing violence. They are inclined to consider its unauthorized forms in particular as anomalous, irrational, senseless and disruptive – as the reverse of social order, as the antithesis of civilization as something that has to be brought under control.Rather than defining violence a priori as senseless and irrational, we should consider it as a changing form of interaction and communication, as a historically developed cultural form of meaningful action. It is well known that many cases of homicide result from insults. We also know that sensitivity to insults varies with context and that some people are more sensitive to them than others. When inflicted in public, insults can be experienced as a serious form of verbal violence, in which injury mixes with insult. This is particularly true in cultures with a strongly developed sense of honour. For men, the use of violence is the best way to obtain satisfaction for stained honour and to restore their reputation for manliness. The ultimate vindication of honour lies in physical violence.Rather than looking at violence through essentialist or naturalistic lenses, it makes more sense to consider violence as a cultural category, as a historically developed cultural form or construction. How people conceive of violence and the meaning it has for them is contingent with time and place, varies with historical circumstances, and depends on the perspective of those involved – offenders and victims, spectators and bystanders, witnesses and authorities. Today we judge violence against persons more severely than violence against property, it used to be the opposite. Hooliganism is rooted in the working-class subculture where fighting and open aggression are appropriate and desirable in certain situations, and serve – for an age category that has been cross-culturally identified as betwixt and between – as a means of acquiring status and prestige. Violence can be ritual – sacrifices. Terrorism sometimes takes the character of ritual sacrifice.
Everyday terrorism: Connecting domestic violence and global terrorism. Pain, Rachel. 2014. Progress in Human Geography 38 (4):531-550.
This paper remaps the geographies of terrorism. Everyday terrorism (domestic violence) and global terrorism are related attempts to exert political control through fear. Geographical research on violence neatly reflects the disproportionate recognition and resourcing that global terrorism receives from the state. The paper explores the parallels, shared foundations and direct points of connection between everyday and global terrorisms. It does so across four interrelated themes: politics and securities, fear and trauma, public recognition and recovery, and the inequitable nature of counter-terrorisms. It concludes with implications for addressing terrorisms and for future research.
Intersectionality and multiple inequalities: visibility in British policy on violence against women. Strid, S., S. Walby, et al. (2013). “Intersectionality and Multiple Inequalities: Visibility in British Policy on Violence Against Women.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 20(4): 558-581.
Intersectionalities have long been theorized. It is time to move on to empirical testing of intersectionality theory in order to develop it further. The paper analyses visibility of multiple intersecting inequalities in policy on violence against women in Britain. It finds and develops a continuum of inclusion of multiple inequalities to analysed visibility in policy, ranging from the simple naming of inequalities, the intersection of inequalities, and fields of violence and policy domains, to the inclusion of the voices of minoritized women. It is proposed that while recognition of intersectionality is required for good quality policy, it is the way in which this is achieved that is particularly important. We argue that the implications of previous research that finds silencing of groups positioned at the point of intersection of two or more inequalities and invisibility of multiple inequalities in policy need to be re-thought. Previous research showing silencing and invisibility is based on a too narrow understanding of the concept of intersectionality and has not taken sufficiently into account the implications of the politico-discursive process of de-gendering.
The civic origins of progressive policy change: Combating violence against women in global perspective, 1975-2005. Htun, M. and S. L. Weldon (2012). American Political Science Review 106(3): 548-569. http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=15541
Over the past four decades, violence against women (VAW) has come to be seen as a violation of human rights and an important concern for social policy. Yet government action remains uneven. Some countries have adopted comprehensive policies to combat VAW, whereas others have been slow to address the problem. Using an original dataset of social movements and VAW policies in 70 countries over four decades, we show that feminist mobilization in civil society – not intra-legislative political phenomena such as leftist parties or women in government or economic factors like national wealth – accounts for variation in policy development. In addition, we demonstrate that autonomous movements produce an enduring impact on VAW policy through the institutionalization of feminist ideas in international norms. This study brings national and global civil society into large-n explanations of social policy, arguing that analysis of civil society in general, and of social movements in particular, is critical to understanding progressive social policy change.
What Is the relationship between inequity in family law and violence against women? Approaching the issue of legal enclaves. Hudson, V. M., D. L. Bowen, et al. (2011). Politics & Gender 7(4): 453-492.
“Family law” is the term applied to the legal regulation of marriage and parenthood within a society, and may serve to express a society’s accepted ideals concerning male-female relations. Adopting a feminist evolutionary analytic (FEA) approach, we hypothesize that nation-states with higher degrees of inequity in family law favouring men, codifying an evolutionary legacy of male dominance and control over female reproduction, will experience higher rates of violence against women. This hypothesis is borne out in conventional statistical analysis, both bivariate and multivariate, suggesting that policy attention to family law so as to make it more concordant with norms of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) may have salutatory effects on women’s physical security over time. These results may also have policy implications for societies with, or contemplating, enclaves of inequitable family law.
Gender-based violence and socioeconomic inequalities: Does living in more deprived neighbourhoods increase women’s risk of intimate partner violence? Kiss, L., L. B. Schraiber, et al. (2012). Social Science & Medicine 74(8): 1172-1179.
This study investigates the influence of neighbourhood socioeconomic conditions on women’s likelihood of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Data from 940 women who were interviewed as part of the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women, and census data for Sao Paulo City, were analysed using multilevel regression techniques. A neighbourhood socioeconomic-level scale was created, and proxies for the socioeconomic positions of the couple were included. Other individual level variables included factors related to partner’s behaviour and women’s experiences and attitudes. Women’s risk of IPV did not vary across neighbourhoods in Sao Paulo nor was it influenced by her individual socioeconomic characteristics. However, women in the middle range of the socioeconomic scale were significantly more likely to report having experienced violence by a partner. Partner behaviours such as excessive alcohol use, controlling behaviour and multiple sexual partnerships were important predictors of IPV. A women’s likelihood of IPV also increased if either her mother had experienced IPV or if she used alcohol excessively. These findings suggest that although the characteristics of people living in deprived neighbourhoods may influence the probability that a woman will experience IPV, higher-order contextual dynamics do not seem to affect this risk. While poverty reduction will improve the lives of individuals in many ways, strategies to reduce IPV should prioritize shifting norms that reinforce certain negative male behaviours.
Societal isolations, violent norms, and gender relations: A re-examination and extension of Levinson’s model of wife beating. Erchak, G. M. and R. Rosenfeld (1994). Cross-Cultural Research 28(2): 111-133.
This article re-analyses cross-cultural data on wife beating using Murdock and White’s Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. Geographic isolation, violent norms, and intergender competition over material and intimate resources and rewards emerge as significant sources of cross-cultural variation in spouse abuse. The conclusion, which provides a provocative foundation for future research, is that wife beating is more common in cultures that embrace the use of violence and that promote competition between husbands and wives.
Varieties of patriarchy and violence against women: resurrecting “patriarchy” as a theoretical tool. Hunnicutt, Gwen (2009). Violence Against Women 15(5): 553-573.
Feminist scholars have produced abundant writings on violence against women, yet theory development has stagnated. The effort to construct a theory of patriarchy to explain violence against women was derailed by criticism. In this article, the author addresses some of these criticisms, uncovers the explanatory strengths of this concept, and lays some foundations for a more fully developed theory of violence against women because it keeps the theoretical focus on dominance, gender, and power. It also anchors the problem of violence against women in social conditions, rather than individual attributes.
From work with men and boys to changes of social norms and reduction of inequities in gender relations: A conceptual shift in prevention of violence against women and girls. Jewkes, Rachel; Michael Flood & James Lang (2014). The Lancet 385(9977): 15801589.
Violence perpetrated by and against men and boys is a major public health problem. Although individual men’s use of violence differs, engagement of all men and boys in action to prevent violence against women and girls is essential. We discuss why this engagement approach is theoretically important and how prevention interventions have developed from treating men simply as perpetrators of violence against women and girls or as allies of women in its prevention, to approaches that seek to transform the relations, social norms, and systems that sustain gender inequality and violence. We review evidence of intervention effectiveness in the reduction of violence or its risk factors, features commonly seen in more effective interventions, and how strong evidence-based interventions can be developed with more robust use of theory. Future interventions should emphasize work with both men and boys and women and girls to change social norms on gender relations, and need to appropriately accommodate the differences between men and women in the design of programs.
Prevalence of and factors associated with male perpetration of intimate partner violence: findings from the UN Multi-country cross-sectional study on men and violence in Asia and the Pacific. Fulu, E., et al. (2013). The Lancet Global Health 1(4): 187-207.
Male perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) is under-researched. In this Article, we present data for the prevalence of, and factors associated with, male perpetration of IPV from the UN Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of perpetration of partner violence, identify factors associated with perpetration of different forms of violence, and inform prevention strategies. We undertook standardized population-based household surveys with a multistage representative sample of men aged 18-49 years in nine sites in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea between January, 2011, and December, 2012. We built multinomial regression models of factors associated with lifetime violence perpetration: physical IPV, sexual IPV, both physical and sexual IPV, multiple emotional or economic IPV versus none, and calculated population-attributable fractions. In the analysis, we considered factors related to social characteristics, gender attitudes and relationship practices, victimization history, psychological factors, substance misuse, and participation in violence outside the home. 10178 men completed interviews in our study (between 815 and 1812 per site). The response rate was higher than 82% in all sites except for urban Bangladesh (73%) and Sri Lanka (58%). The prevalence of physical or sexual IPV perpetration, or both, varied by site, between 25% (190/746; rural Indonesia) and 80% (572/714; Bougainville, Papua New Guinea). When multiple emotional or economic abuse was included, the prevalence of IPV perpetration ranged from 39% (409/1040; Sri Lanka) to 87% (623/714; Bougainville, Papua New Guinea). Factors associated with IPV perpetration varied by country and type of violence. On the basis of population-attributable fractions, we show factors related to gender and relationship practices to be most important, followed by experiences of childhood trauma, alcohol misuse and depression, low education, poverty, and involvement in gangs and fights with weapons. Perpetration of IPV by men is highly prevalent in the general population in the sites studied. Prevention of IPV is crucial, and interventions should address gender socialization and power relations, abuse in childhood, mental health issues, and poverty. Interventions should be tailored to respond to the specific patterns of violence in various contexts. Physical and sexual partner violence might need to be addressed in different ways. Partners for Prevention – a UN Development Program, UN Population Fund, UN Women, and UN Volunteers regional joint program for gender-based violence prevention in Asia and the Pacific; UN Population Fund Bangladesh and China; UN Women Cambodia and Indonesia; UN Development Program in Papua New Guinea and Pacific Centre; and the Governments of Australia, the UK, Norway, and Sweden.
Men’s violence against women and men are inter-related: Recommendations for simultaneous intervention. Fleming, Paul J., Sofia Gruskin, Florencia Rojo & Shari L. Dworkin (2015). Social Science & Medicine 146: 249-256.
Men are more likely than women to perpetrate nearly all types of interpersonal violence (e.g. intimate partner violence, murder, assault, rape). While public health programs target prevention efforts for each type of violence, there are rarely efforts that approach the prevention of violence holistically and attempt to tackle its common root causes. Drawing upon theories that explain the drivers of violence, we examine how gender norms, including norms and social constructions of masculinity, are at the root of most physical violence perpetration by men against women and against other men. We then argue that simply isolating each type of violence and constructing separate interventions for each type is inefficient and less effective. We call for recognition of the commonalities found across the drivers of different types of violence and make intervention recommendations with the goal of seeking more long-standing solutions to violence prevention.
Men’s perpetration of intimate partner violence in Vietnam: Gendered social learning and the challenges of masculinity. Yount, K. M., et al. (2015). Men and Masculinities, 19(1): 64-84.
Using the survey responses of 522 married men (eighteen to fifty-one years) in Vietnam, we explored how gendered social learning in boyhood and challenges to men’s expected status in marriage may increase the risk that men perpetrate intimate partner violence (IPV) against their wives. Over one-third (36.6 percent) of the participants reported having ever perpetrated psychological, physical, or sexual IPV against their current wife. Accounting for other characteristics of men in the sample, witnessing IPV as a boy, being physically maltreated as a boy, and being the same age or younger than one’s wife were associated with almost two to three times higher odds of perpetrating any IPV. Men with thirteen to eighteen completed grades of schooling had about half the adjusted odds of ever perpetrating any IPV than men with twelve or fewer completed grades (aOR = 0.56). The determinants of men’s perpetration of physical IPV and psychological IPV were, largely, similar. Programs to prevent men’s perpetration of IPV should address the parenting practices of boys that legitimize men’s aggression and gendered status expectations in marriage, which when challenged, may lead husbands to respond with violence. Engaging men to endorse nonviolent masculinities is an important consideration for future intervention.
Effects of traditional gender role norms and religious fundamentalism on self-identified heterosexual men’s attitudes, anger, and aggression toward gay men and lesbians. Vincent, W., D. J. Parrott, et al. (2011). Psychology of Men & Masculinity 12(4): 383-400.
Sexual prejudice and antigay anger were examined as mediators of the associations between traditional male gender norms, religious fundamentalism, and aggression toward gay men and lesbians. Participants were 201 self-identified heterosexual men recruited from the community to complete computer-administered measures of adherence to traditional male gender norms (i.e., status, toughness, antifemininity), religious fundamentalism, sexual prejudice, and frequency of aggression toward gay men and lesbians. Additionally, participants completed a structured interview designed to assess anger in response to a vignette depicting a male-male intimate relationship (i.e., partners saying “I love you,” holding hands, kissing). Results showed that sexual prejudice and antigay anger partially mediated the effect of antifemininity on aggression and fully mediated the effect of religious fundamentalism on aggression. Sexual prejudice alone fully mediated the effect of status on aggression and neither sexual prejudice nor antigay anger mediated the effect of toughness on aggression. Further, results suggested that religious fundamentalism is a multifaceted construct of which some aspects increase risk for aggression toward gay men and lesbians, whereas other aspects decrease this risk. These data provide multivariate evidence from a nonprobability, community-based sample that extreme internalization of dominant cultural values can set the stage for violence toward marginalized groups. Implications for intervention programming and future research are reviewed.
Are individual and community acceptance and witnessing of intimate partner violence related to its occurrence? Multilevel structural equation model. Uthman, O. A., T. Moradi, et al. (2011). Plos One 6(12). https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0027738
Background: Intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) is a serious and widespread problem worldwide. Much of the research on IPVAW focused on individual-level factors and attention has been paid to the contextual factors. The aim of this study was to develop and test a model of individual-and community-level factors associated with IPVAW. Methods and Findings: We conducted a (multivariate) multilevel structural equation analysis on 8731 couples nested within 883 communities in Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey 2008. Variables included in the model were derived from respondents’ answers to the experience of IPVAW, attitudes towards wife beating and witnessing physical violence in childhood. We found that women that witnessed physical violence were more likely to have tolerant attitudes towards IPVAW and women with tolerant attitudes were more likely to have reported spousal IPVAW abuse. Women with husbands with tolerant attitudes towards IPVAW were more likely to have reported spousal abuse. We found that an increasing proportion of women in the community with tolerant attitudes was significantly positively associated with spousal sexual and emotional abuse, but not significantly associated with spousal physical abuse. In addition, we found that an increasing proportion of men in the community with tolerant attitudes and an increasing proportion of women who had witnessed physical violence in the community was significantly positively associated with spousal physical abuse, but not significantly associated with spousal sexual and emotional abuse. There was a positive correlation between all three types of IPVAW at individual-and community-level. Conclusions: We found that community tolerant attitudes context in which people live is associated with exposure to IPVAW even after taking into account individual tolerant attitudes. Public health interventions designed to reduce IPVAW must address people and the communities in which they live in order to be successful.
”Walking over ‘em”: An exploration of relations between emotion dysregulation, masculine norms, and intimate partner abuse in a clinical sample of men. Tager, D., G. E. Good, et al. (2010). Psychology of Men & Masculinity 11(3): 233-239.
This study is the first to examine relations of emotion dysregulation, masculine norms, and abuse perpetration among men referred for domestic assault. Experiences of 108 men participating in batter intervention programs from 3 different cities were examined. Results suggest that intimate partner abuse, emotion dysregulation, and the specific masculine norms of dominance, emotional control, and self-reliance are associated. Multiple-regression analysis indicated that emotion dysregulation and the masculine norm of dominance accounted for about 25% of the variance in reported abuse. In addition, the masculine norms of emotional control and self-reliance were significantly associated with emotion dysregulation. These findings suggest that men who reported experiencing affect that was difficult for them to manage are more likely to abuse their partners and also tend to believe that men should not share their emotions or ask for help.
Gender violence and hegemonic projects. Nayak, M. and J. Suchland (2006). International Feminist Journal of Politics 8(4): 467-485.
We discuss why re-thinking the relationship between gender violence and hegemonic projects is important for feminist theory and activism. Moving beyond the narrow, representational approach to “violence against women”, we argue that the hegemonic projects of the state are constituted through gender violence. Rather than an effect of power, gender violence is thus instrumental to the very operations and existence of hegemonic projects. We insert the contributing essays within this framework, elucidating their examination of three key issues: (1) how hegemonic discourses operate through gendered violence; (2) how dominant political institutions, ideas and discourses determine what “counts” as gender violence; and (3) how responses to gender violence engage metanarratives about gender, race, class and nation/state, both resisting and sustaining hegemonic projects.
Patriarchal beliefs and perceptions of abuse among South Asian immigrant women. Ahmad, F., S. Riaz, et al. (2004). Violence against Women 10(3): 262-282.
This study investigates the relationship between South Asian immigrant women’s patriarchal beliefs and their perceptions of spousal abuse. Twenty-minute telephone surveys were conducted with 47 women. The survey collected information about demographic characteristics, patriarchal beliefs, ethnic identity, and abuse status. Participants were read a vignette that depicted an abusive situation and were asked whether they felt that the woman in the vignette was a victim of spousal abuse. As hypothesized, higher agreement with patriarchal social norms predicted a decreased likelihood of identifying the woman in the vignette as a victim of spousal abuse. This finding is discussed in terms of its application to violence against women educational programs in the South Asian immigrant community.
The silence of South-Sudanese women: social risks in talking about experiences of sexual violence. Tankink, M. T. A. (2013). Culture, Health & Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care 15(4): 391-403.
In South Sudan, it is rare for someone to speak about sexual violence. According to the South Sudanese, it can be dangerous to talk as there will be social consequences and talking can destroy you. In this paper, I describe some of the impediments women from South Sudan experience when they try to share their experienced sexual violence with significant others by describing a specific case. The main coping strategy for most South Sudanese women is to keep their experiences secret to protect themselves. The health and health-seeking behaviour of South Sudanese women are influenced by cultural notions of coping with a taboo as strong as sexual violence. I will show that the women’s silence is the result of a complex and dynamic reality in the women’s everyday lives. The women often experience considerable tension between the dominant public cultural ideas and their private experiences and personal notions. I conclude with a discussion about how women’s silence should be respected and the trauma addressed metaphorically to avoid unwanted or uncontrolled social consequences. What is most at stake for the South Sudanese women is the prevention of further humiliation or social exclusion in their everyday lives as a result of sexual violence.
How the methods used to eliminate foot binding in China can be employed to eradicate female genital mutilation. Wilson, A.-M. (2012). Journal of Gender Studies 22(1): 17-37.
Gender-based violence affects women in most societies. Chinese foot binding existed for nearly a thousand years and was seen as a sign of beauty and marriageability. Female genital mutilation (FGM) has existed for over two thousand years, affecting 140 million women across forty countries. Both practices have significant parallels and are examined historically, geographically, and by health consequences. An analysis is made of the elimination of foot binding and applied to the eradication of FGM. A model is created to identify the features which are most likely to lead to success. Three case studies taken from Somalia, Ghana, and Ethiopia are assessed against the success criteria for the eradication of foot binding. Conclusions and recommendations are drawn for future work in the stand against FGM.
Gender norms and retaliatory violence against spouses and acquaintances. Feld, S. L. and R. B. Felson (2008). Journal of Family Issues 29(5): 692-703. https://richardfelson.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/feld-family-issues-retaliation.pdf
This article examines an experiment embedded within a nationally representative survey of adult Americans to investigate gender norms regarding retaliatory violence between spouses and acquaintances. Contrary to claims that societal norms permit violence within marriage, respondents disapproved of retaliatory violence against spouses more than they did against acquaintances. Contrary to claims that gender roles encourage violence by males more than females, respondents were just as likely to approve of female retaliation against males as they were male retaliation against males, and they were more approving of females’ retaliating against females than of males’ retaliating against females. Male and female respondents had similar, strongly disapproving attitudes toward men’s retaliating against women, even though male respondents were more accepting of retaliation in all other conditions. Evidence clearly shows that societal norms discourage retaliation between spouses and men’s retaliating against women. Consequently, violent wife abuse continues despite (not because of) societal norms.
Women’s rights, international norms, and domestic violence: Asian perspectives. Amirthalingam, K. (2005). Human Rights Quarterly 27(2): 683-708.
This article examines domestic violence laws in two Asian jurisdictions and highlights the importance of using a gender analysis to create an alternative narrative of, and different solutions to, the problem. The paper reviews some of the theoretical analyses of domestic violence and draws on international human rights discourse to supplement domestic developments. The tension between cultural norms and international norms is considered and it is suggested that certain universal norms need to be championed-in this case the right of women to be free from domestic violence.
Male honour and female fidelity: Implicit cultural scripts that perpetuate domestic violence. Vandello, J. A. and D. Cohen (2003). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(5): 997-1010.
Two studies explored how domestic violence may be implicitly or explicitly sanctioned and reinforced in cultures where honour is a salient organizing theme. Three general predictions were supported: (a) female infidelity damages a man’s reputation, particularly in honour cultures; (b) this reputation can be partially restored through the use of violence and (c) women in honour cultures are expected to remain loyal in the face of jealousy-related violence. Study I involved participants from Brazil (an honour culture) and the United States responding to written vignettes involving infidelity and violence in response to infidelity. Study 2 involved southern Anglo, Latino, and northern Anglo participants witnessing a “live” incident of aggression against a woman (actually a confederate) and subsequently interacting with her.
Culture of honor, culture of change: A feminist analysis of honor killings in rural Turkey. Sev’er, A. and G. Yurdakul (2001). Violence against Women 7(9): 964-998.
This article presents a feminist analysis of honour killings in rural Turkey. One of the main goals is to dissociate honour killings from a particular religious belief system and locate it on a continuum of patriarchal patterns of violence against women. The authors first provide a summary of the defining characteristics of honour killings and discuss the circumstances under which they are likely to occur. Second, they discuss modernization versus traditionalism in Turkey, emphasizing the contradictory forces in a culture of change. Third, they discuss conflict orientations in understanding violence against women, starting from some of the assertions and assumptions of the Marx/Engels hypothesis and socialist feminism, and comparing and contrasting the radical feminist orientation with the materialist orientation. Fourth, the authors give examples of honour killings in Turkey that have been recorded in recent years, specifically highlighting the common threads among these heinous crimes. The patterns observed are more supportive of the radical and socialist feminist orientations than the Marx/Engels hypothesis. The article ends with modest suggestions about breaking the cycle of violence against women, emphasizing the personal, social, structural, and global links in engendering positive change.
In the name of the fathers: Honor killings and some examples from South-Eastern Turkey. Sev’er, A. (2005). Atlantis 30(1): 129-145.
Starting from patriarchal power and authority, this article explores the control of girls/women under classic patriarchies, particularly virginity, forced virginity tests and honour killings (HK); that is, murder of a woman by her male kin after something she has done is interpreted as tainting her family’s honour.
Gender, culture and the law: Approaches to “Honour Crimes” in the UK. Reddy, R. (2008). Feminist Legal Studies 16(3): 305-321.
This article examines the debate on whether to analyse “honour crimes” as gender-based violence, or as cultural tradition, and the effects of either stance on protection from and prevention of these crimes. In particular, the article argues that the categorisation of honour-related violence as primarily cultural ignores its position within the wider spectrum of gender violence, and may result in a number of unfortunate side-effects, including lesser protection of the rights of women within minority communities, and the stigmatisation of those communities. At the same time, it is problematic to completely dismiss any cultural aspects of violence against women, and a nuanced approach is required which carefully balances the benefits and detriments of taking cultural factors into account. The article examines the issues within the context of the legal response to cases involving honour-related violence, arguing that although the judiciary has in a number of cases inclined towards viewing “honour” as primarily cultural rather than patriarchal, in some cases they have begun to take a more gender-based or “mature multiculturalism” approach.
There is nothing honourable about honour killings: Gender, violence and the limits of multiculturalism. Meeto, V. and H. Mirza (2007). Women’s Studies International Forum 30(3): 187-200.
“Honour” killings are extreme acts of domestic violence culminating in the murder of a woman by her family or community. However, only in relation to religious and ethnic communities is the concept of “honour” invoked as motivation for domestic violence. In this article we argue that ethnicised women are caught up in a collision of discourses. Women who are victims of honour killings are invisible within the cultural relativism of the British multicultural discourse and the private/public divide which characterises the domestic violence discourse. But since September 11, while ethnicised women have become highly visible, they are now contained and constructed in the public consciousness within a discourse of fear and risk posed by the presence of the Muslim alien “other”. By developing an effective human rights approach to honour killings, it could be possible to move away from the ‘gender trap’ of cultural relativism within the liberal democratic discourse on multiculturalism.
Honor Killings and the Construction of Gender in Arab Societies. Abu Odeh, L. (2010). American Journal of Comparative Law 58(4): 911-952.
This Article discusses the regulation and adjudication of honour killings in the Arab world and traces the distributive and disciplinary impact of such regulation/adjudication on Arab men and Arab women’s sexuality. In the afterword, the Article outlines the transformative effect of Islamization of culture in the Arab world in the past twenty years on the practice of honour and killings committed in its name.
Gender and violence: Literature on women and violence
Deconstructing the myth of the nonaggressive female: A feminist analysis. White, J. W. (1994). Psychology of Women Quarterly 18: 477-498.One of the most pervasive and undisputed gender stereotypes is that men are more aggressive than women. However, this stereotype has, until recently, led researchers to conclude that women are nonaggressive and, therefore, to ignore the topic of female aggression as a distinct phenomenon. The basis of the myth, factors supporting its maintenance, and theories of female aggression are examined. A feminist reinterpretation of aggression that views women’s and men’s aggressive behaviour within social structural arrangements that create and sustain differential power relations is presented.
Women in Law Enforcement. Carson, B. (1993). In Women and the Use of Military Force. R. H. Howes, M. R. Stevenson (eds.) Boulder, CO., Lynne Rienner: 67-77.
There is evidence that the police force has become less violent with an increased number of female officers integrated at all levels of the police force, rather than having the female officers become more violent.
A holistic approach to violence: Women parliamentarians’ understanding of violence against women and violence in the Kurdish issue in Turkey. Çelik, Ayşe Betl (2014). European Journal of Women’s Studies 23(1): 76-92.
While women in Turkey and around the world are commonly engaged in civic activism for peace and violence reduction, they are seriously underrepresented in formal politics; thus, not much has been written about their potential to affect decisions made to reduce violence in their societies. This study aims to understand how women politicians view violence in general and their solutions for two specific types of violence in Turkey: (1) the increasing levels of violence against women, and (2) violence created through the Kurdish issue in Turkey. Turkish politicians have become increasingly concerned about both of these issues in recent years and have designed many policies and strategies to address them. This study argues that studying the women parliamentarians’ linkage (or its absence) between the two types of violence will help understand what accounts for the differences (if any) among women MPs in their understanding of different types of violence and their solutions to them.
Women’s “Justification” of Domestic Violence in Egypt. Yount, K. M. and L. Li (2009). Journal of Marriage and Family 71(5): 1125-1140.
We explored the influences of women’s social learning, marital resources and constraints, and exposure to norms about women’s family roles on their views about wife hitting or beating among 5,450 participants in the 2005 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey. One half justified wife hitting or beating for some reason. Women from rural areas who were exposed to domestic violence more often justified such acts. Dependent wives whose husbands had more schooling, were blood relatives, and were co-resident more often justified such acts. In settings where women tended to marry at older ages, women less often justified such acts. Women’s resources and constraints in marriage accounted for the largest share of the variability in their attitudes about domestic violence against women.
Gender and violence: Literature on gender and other forms of violence
The organization(s) of violence: men, gender relations, organizations, and violences, Hearn, Jeff (1994). Human Relations, 47(6), 731-754.The major traditions of organizational analysis have not been characterized by a significant and explicit concern with gender, sexuality, and violence. This article considers some of the changing ways in which gender and sexuality are being approached, or indeed avoided, within organizational analysis, and some of the reasons why a focus on gender and sexuality might lead on to the study of the relationship of violence and organizations.