The Unhappy Marriage of Women’s Work and Spousal Violence in India

Vijayshree Jayaraman, Azim Premji University

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Gender-based violence against women is a public health crisis that highlights the persistent gender inequalities present in our society. Informed by theories in several disciplines, spousal violence can be modelled as a multi-faceted phenomenon arising from the intersection of many factors, that may either be a risk or buffer factors. This papers tries to understand if a women’s employment is a risk or buffer factor for spousal violence. We use the NFHS 4 data-set and develop linear probability models to understand the different channels through which employment may change the likelihood of violence. We find that, being employed makes a woman more vulnerable to spousal violence, particularly if the woman earns more than the husband. Adding to that, we find evidence suggesting ‘female guilt’ present in working wives, where they justify spousal violence especially if ‘the wife is unfaithful’. We argue the need to account for different form of violence while studying spousal violence, which has not been studied previously in the literature and present results for the same.

Keywords : Spousal Violence, Women’s Employment, Household Bargaining, Male Backlash

Suggested citation:

Jayaraman, Vijayshree. 2023. “The unhappy marriage of women’s work and spousal violence in India,” Centre for Sustainable Employment Working Paper #52, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.