WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN BANGLADESH: INVESTIGATING THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP
The aim of this study was to assess whether women’s empowerment ensures reduced intimate partner violence (IPV). The differential relationship between women’s empowerment and IPV among married women in Bangladesh was investigated using 2007 Demographic and Health Survey data. Logistic regression models were used to assess whether women’s empowerment had any influence on their likelihood of experiencing IPV while controlling for other covariates. The analyses revealed that older cohorts of women, who were more empowered, were more vulnerable to physical violence than less-empowered, younger women. The likelihood of being affected by physical violence among less-empowered, childless women was greater than that of more-empowered women with only male children. Less-empowered, uneducated women were more likely to experience physical violence than more-empowered, primary-educated women. Less-empowered women who had been married for less than 5 years were more likely to suffer from physical violence than more-empowered women who had been married for more than 19 years. The likelihood of experiencing sexual violence was not found to have any significant association with women’s empowerment. The findings suggest that although women’s empowerment in Bangladesh is gradually improving, some sub-groups of empowered women are still susceptible to IPV.