Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
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Author(s): Mejia C, Cannon A, Zietz S, Arcara J, Abdur-Rahman A
Economic empowerment has long been considered a key component in structural interventions to reduce gender inequality and the experience of gender-based violence (GBV) among women and girls. However, results from recent studies have yielded inconsistent evidence on the relationship between women’s economic empowerment (WEE) interventions and the risk of GBV. For example, there is evidence to support the theory that WEE increases risk of GBV, possibly because increased empowerment challenges the status quo in the household, which can result in a male partner using violence to maintain his position. Alternatively, there is evidence indicating increased empowerment reduces GBV because educational or financial empowerment offers higher status in the household, which then decreases women’s risk of experiencing violence.
This study includes a systematic review of the literature as well as key informant interviews (KIIs) with program staff and experts from organizations implementing and/or conducting research on economic empowerment interventions targeted to women in sub-Saharan Africa. Findings from the literature review guided the questions for the KIIs. The KIIs added to the findings from the systematic review by focusing on what programs identify as important drivers in the relationship between WEE and GBV and the common M&E practices programs use to document intervention effect on gender outcomes.
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