Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Domestic violence against women is a social problem that occurs in nearly every corner 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 women’s representation may increase the level of protection against domestic violence because female legislators are more likely to put women’s issues on the agenda and make policy choices that benefit their sex. Alternatively, the culture of a state may determine whether the society supports rights for women, including protection from domestic violence. A variety of statistics indicating women’s representation and culture were gathered for analysis. Using bi variate correlation and multiple regression, the theories were tested against each other in an attempt to determine the cause of variation in levels of protection. The findings suggest that both women’s representation and culture are significantly correlated to level of protection. Because the number of women in elected office influences protection to a greater extent than culture, improving women’s representation appears to be an important factor in fighting the domestic violence problem.