What can we do to combat violence against women? Previous research has emphasized legislative reforms including tougher laws. However, legal reforms do not always reach remote areas where the state has little influence over social relations, but traditional norms in particular patriarchy remain to govern the relationship between men and women.
In this project, my colleague Anselm Hager and I work with the Welthungerhilfe, Oxfam and medica Liberia to evaluate whether women empowerment interventions affect the social status of women and decrease the prevalence of domestic violence. In particular, we assess two types of treatments to reduce sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). One treatment is based on an institutional logic and relies on the creation of women support networks within villages. The second treatment relates to a norms-based logic and is based on the principle that behavioral changes among men and women result from altered individual and collective norms that are opposed to gender equality.
The intervention takes place in southeast Liberia, a relatively remote part which is hard to access during the rainy season. The intervention takes place in 125 communities and we collected baseline data (December 2018). During the following years, the programs will be implemented and followed by midline and endline surveys through which we aim to assess the causal effect of this interventions by comparing outcome variables between treatment and control villages. To decrease social desirability bias and to reduce unintended consequences for respondents we rely on a number of list and vignette experiments.