Abstract

Domestic violence against women is a social problem that occurs in nearly every comer of the world. Recently, some states have begun to recognize that women must be protected from abuse by family members and intimates. While policies and practices designed to protect women have emerged in a number of countries, many lag behind on the issue. This paper will examine the causal factors behind the variation in protection for women. The literature on women and politics suggests that when women are able to directly influence policies, via electoral pressure or participation in decision-making, women-friendly legislation will be more prevalent. Another possibility is the social context of a society determines whether women are able to influence the popular discourse, and therefore, advocate policies that protect women. A variety of statistics were gathered to test these hypotheses. Using bi variate correlation, the political and social influence theories were each tested in order to determine the cause of variation in levels of protection. The findings suggest that both direct political influence by women and the social context are important; however, women's representation stands out as the strongest indicator of level of protection. There is a solid argument for the use of affirmative action policies to increase women's representation as a strategy for increasing protection.

Disciplines

Political Science



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