How are gender inequality and violence against women related? Findings from a population-level community attitudes survey

Low support for gender equality (GE) predicts attitudes supporting violence against women (VAW). However, little is known about the influence of attitudes towards different manifestations of GE. This study extends knowledge by assessing the relative strength of attitudes to GE across seven theoretically derived dimensions, and their association with attitudes towards VAW. 17,542 Australians participated in the 2017 National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey. Population means were calculated for scales formed from survey questions: the Community Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women Scale (CASVAWS), the Gender Equality Attitudes Scale (GEAS), and measures within the GEAS representing the theoretical dimensions. There was variation in support for GE between the measures. The lower the support for GE, the higher the support for VAW. Although all GEAS measures included in regression modelling contributed to variance in the CASVAWS, two accounted for more than half. The study suggests benefits in using a multi-dimensional model of GE to mitigate cultural support for VAW, with emphasis on the private sphere and countering hostility towards women and rigid gender roles and identities.

Citation: Webster, K., Ward, A., Diemer, K., Flood, M., Honey, N., Morgan, J., Politof, V., Powell, A., and Stubbs, J. (2021). How are gender inequality and violence against women related? Findings from a population‐level community attitudes survey. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 374-392.