Effect of physical mobility, decision making and economic empowerment on gender-based violence among married youth in India-SAWERA project
Devika Mehra, September 15, 2022
Background Preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) is both a human rights imperative and
a multifaceted economic issue. GBV can also act as a barrier to economic empowerment. The aim of the study was
to examine the association between women’s empowerment (physical mobility, decision making and economic
resources) and GBV among married youth in India.
Methods Community based cross-sectional study was conducted among married youth in the age group of
15–24 years, in two selected districts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, India. The data was collected from 578 youth.
Pre-validated scales were used to assess women’s empowerment indicators (physical mobility, decision making and
economic resources). The outcomes assessed were scales on physical and sexual violence. Multivariate regression
models examined associations between women’s empowerment, spousal characteristics, socio-economic status and
Results The overall results of the study found that restricted physical mobility had a negative association with sexual
violence [AOR: 0.49; CI 0.26–0.92]. Women with no decision-making power had higher odds of physical violence
[AOR: 2.12; CI 0.01–4.43] and sexual violence [AOR: 1.96; CI 1.02–3.77]. Having no economic resources had a negative
association with sexual violence [AOR: 0.19; CI 0.09–0.39]. Women going through spousal controlling behavior had a
higher likelihood of physical [AOR: 3.79; CI 1.75–8.19] and sexual violence [AOR: 4.03; CI 2.09–7.79]. It was also found
that married women from rural areas and other ethnic backgrounds had higher odds of physical violence.
Conclusion There is a crucial need to work towards women’s empowerment, with progressive gender roles such as
greater decision-making, physical mobility and economic resources to reduce GBV. An established method that has
worked in various contexts is adopting gender transformative approaches that involve men.
Keywords Sexual violence, Physical violence, Women’s empowerment, Youth