The Association between Spousal Gender Based Violence and Women’s Empowerment among Currently Married Women aged 15-49 in Zimba- bwe: Evidence from the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey

N.N Wekwete, H Sanhokwe, W Murenjekwa, F Takavarasha, N Madzingira


In Zimbabwe, levels of spousal Gender-Based Violence (GBV) remain a health, human rights and development concern. The main objective of this study was to investigate the association between spousal GBV and women’s empowerment among women aged 15-49 who were currently in union or living with a man. The analysis utilised the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) data. Spousal violence was measured by different forms of GBV i.e. physical, emotional, sexual violence and overall GBV. Overall, 48.2% of women of reproductive age who are in a union experience some type of GBV. More specifically, 26.9% report physical violence, 25.7% sexual violence and 25.7% emotional violence. The analysis showed that women who did not participate in decision-making at household level were more likely to experience GBV than those who do. Women who have control over their spouses’ earnings were less likely to suffer from GBV. However, ownership of property (land and/or house) was not associated with spousal GBV. Women who were in polygamous unions, whose spouses drank alcohol, earned less than their spouses and had a history of non-spousal physical violence were more likely to experience GBV than all other women. Younger women (aged 15-19 years) were more likely to experience spousal emotional, physical and sexual violence than the older age groups. Recommendations are to improve women’s participation in decision making, mainstreaming GBV in development, and improve the economic and social emancipation of women and girls.


Spousal violence; Emotional violence; Physical violence; Sexual violence; Gender based violence; Intimate partner violence; Women’s empowerment

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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