Gender equality and violence against women

Gender equality and violence against women

What’s the connection?

Liz Wall

ACSSA Research Summary No. 7 — June 2014
Gender equality and violence against women

Key messages

Gender inequality is cited as a key determinant or factor that underpins violence against women - the connection, however, is complex and requires consideration from different perspectives.

An ecological framework provides a strong basis for a prevention/public health approach to violence against women by enabling the interaction of social and other influences to be examined.

Implementation of gender equality policies should include consideration of other sources and intersections of disadvantage, such as class and race, which may compound gender disadvantage.

More research is required to understand which aspects of gender inequality have the most impact on violence against women.

Gender equality goes beyond economics to include less tangible factors such as the relative social status of unequal groups, social norms and attitudes.

The perpetration of men's violence against women is understood to be a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women. But unravelling the link between gender inequality and male perpetration of violence against women requires a multi-dimensional perspective.

Prevention efforts have focused on gender inequality as the problem, but in striving for improvement, there is no existing model of gender equality to aspire to or to demonstrate the end product. There is also a lack of research and data around whether some aspects of gender equality are more important than others in preventing violence, and how the gender power imbalance works with disadvantage in other social categories such as race and class. These add further complexity to the issue of gender equality.

Authors and Acknowledgements

 At time of writing Liz Wall was a Research Officer with ACSSA at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The author would like to thank Dr Lara Fergus (Director of Policy and Evaluation, Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and Their Children) for comments and feedback on earlier drafts of this paper.

Publication details

ACSSA Research Summary
No. 7
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, June 2014.
14 pp.
Suggested citation:

Wall, L. (2014). Gender equality and violence against women: What’s the connection? (ACSSA Research Summary ). Melbourne: Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

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