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Violence against women and girls: Evidence digest - Issue 21, Autumn 2019

News and Press Release
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Here is a selection of the latest evidence on violence against women and girls (VAWG):


Financial inclusion and intimate partner violence: What does the evidence suggest? (October 2019)

This analysis of nationally representative data from 112 countries found that higher levels of women’s financial inclusion were associated with lower levels of recent intimate partner violence (IPV); for every 10% increase in financial inclusion, IPV reduced by 2%.

A similar trend was found in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), however, the correlation diminished when additional variables were introduced. Multivariate analysis suggests that contextual factors such as gender norms and asset-based enablers of economic autonomy can explain much of the relationship between financial inclusion and IPV in LMICs. For instance, in LMICs with high levels of controlling behaviour by male spouses, financial inclusion was associated with higher levels of IPV.

The authors conclude that programming in the nexus of IPV prevention and women’s financial inclusion must recognise the complexity in this relationship and due to the significance of contextual factors, these initiatives should not operate in silo from broader efforts to reduce gender inequality and shift underlying norms that fuel IPV.

Maternal exposure to intimate partner violence and breastfeeding practices in 51 LMICs: A population-based crosssectional study (October 2019)

This study assesses the relationship between maternal exposure to IPV and breastfeeding practices using nationally representative data from 51 LMICs.

The analysis found that mothers exposed to any form of IPV were less likely to adopt WHO’s recommended breastfeeding practices; i.e. initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and breastfeeding exclusively in the first 6 months.

The authors conclude that the findings may support the argument for screening for IPV among women attending antenatal healthcare in LMICs; arguing that targeted IPVscreening of pregnant women coupled with service provision hold the potential to improve mothers’ well-being as well as support the uptake of WHO’s recommendations.


In-law-perpetrated abuse against women in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (October 2019)

An analysis of data from an evaluation of the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Safe at Home Programme found that 19% of women had experienced physical or emotional abuse perpetrated by an in-law. Younger women were more likely to report abuse by an inlaw than older women.

The findings, although from a relatively small sample size, are consistent with other studies on the topic, underscoring the importance of considering how a woman’s extended family might be a source of abuse within conflict settings.