Explaining Spousal Physical Violence through Dimensions of Women Empowerment: Evidence from Pakistan

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This research investigates whether women's empowerment, defined alternatively protects women against spousal physical violence. Nationally representative data of Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-13 is used to quantify the nature and direction of relationship between dimensions of women’s empowerment and the incidence of spousal violence in the context of Pakistan. The empowerment aspects which are considered in this study include; education, labor force participation, involvement in household decision, mobility, women's rejection of unequal gender roles, asset ownership and access to information. Major findings suggest that empowerment dimensions with significant protective relationship with the incidence of spousal physical violence include; mobility, not accepting unequal gender role, land ownership, house ownership and employment. In contrast, the coefficients associated with wife educational attainment (secondary or higher) and reading newspaper habit are also inversely correlated with the IPV but statistically insignificant. The study also found that empowerment dimensions which may increase the risk of violence due to intra-household discontents or conflicts include; women involvement in household decision, daily TV watching and wife’s higher educational attainment relative to husband. Socioeconomic characteristics which appear to be protective against IPV include; household wealth, wife age at marriage and husband’s secondary or higher educational attainment.