Indian women who are more accomplished than their husbands are far more likely to experience domestic violence than women who are less accomplished, a new study has found.
The study by researchers at New York University found that women who are more educated, earn more or are the sole earners in their families are at more danger of experiencing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) than women who are more dependent on their husbands.
The findings were based on data from India’s National Family Health Survey collected between 2005 and 2006 and questioned a sample of women between the ages of 15 and 49.
The study revealed that women with more education face 1.4 times the risk of violence from their partners, 1.54 times the risk of frequent violence, and 1.36 times the risk of severe violence.
And women who were the sole breadwinners in their family faced 2.44 times the risk of frequent violence and 1.51 times the risk of severe violence as unemployed women whose husbands were employed.
Published as part of the latest Population and Development Review, the study was sponsored by the Population Council, an international non-profit organization that conducts research on development issues.
“The result of such violent responses may in turn prevent some women from pursuing employment or greater earnings opportunities either because they have been injured or because the material benefits of such opportunities no longer outweigh the physical costs at home,” the study said.
One researcher told Reuters that the increased instances of violence against educated women in India was a reflection of the country’s patriarchal society.
Abigail Weizman said: “I think perhaps men are accustomed to the power that their resources can buy them in a relationship. They are used to being able to make decisions because they have earned the money and that buys them a certain privilege in the household. And when women start to challenge that power by having their own resources, perhaps it is perceived as threatening to men and one way in which some men are able to reassert their power or maintain that status quo is perhaps through using violence.”