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

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Community Participation
  • Developing Countries
  • Domestic Violence / ethnology
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Religion
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population*
  • Social Class*