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Women's Status and Domestic Violence in Rural Bangladesh: Individual- and Community-Level Effects

From: Demography
Volume 40, Number 2, May 2003
pp. 269-288 | 10.1353/dem.2003.0014


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