Evidence HubWhat Works Resources


01 September 2017

What Works Evidence Review – The Relationship between Poverty and Intimate Partner Violence

Additional Info

  • VAWG themes: VAWG & Economic Empowerment, VAWG & Social Norms
  • Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, South Africa, Tajikistan
  • Project: HERrespect - Bangladesh, International Alert - Tajikistan, Stepping Stones and Creating Futures - South Africa, VSO International - Nepal, Women for Women International Trial - Afghanistan
  • Author: Andrew Gibbs, Nata Duvvury and Stacey Scriver
  • Date of publication: September 2017

Poverty is a key driver of intimate partner violence (IPV). Women living in poorer places with lower socio-economic status, higher food insecurity, and less access to education and work opportunities are more likely to experience IPV. In addition, women without economic and social resources find it harder to leave abusive relationships. To date, women’s economic empowerment interventions have been central to IPV prevention approaches. This evidence review, however, suggests that women’s involvement in economic interventions has mixed effects on their vulnerability to IPV and can in fact increase the risks of their experiencing IPV, especially in situations where women’s participation in paid economic activity is the exception to the norm. Evidence suggests that interventions that aim to increase women’s access to work need to focus simultaneously on socially empowering women and transforming community gender norms to maximize the positive impact of women’s work on women’s empowerment and help prevent VAWG.

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