Opinion surveys about potential causes of violence against women (VAW) are uncommon. This study explores academic women's opinions about VAW and the ways of reducing violence.
Quantitative and qualitative methods were used in this descriptive study. One hundred-and-fifteen academicians participated in the study from two universities. A questionnaire was used regarding the definition and the causes of VAW, the risk groups and opinions about the solutions. Additionally, two authors interviewed 8 academicians from universities other than that of the interviewing author.
Academicians discussed the problem from the perspective of "gender-based violence" rather than "family violence". The majority of the participants stated that nonworking women of low socioeconomic status are most at risk for VAW. They indicated that psychological violence is more prevalent against educated women, whilst physical violence is more likely to occur against uneducated and nonworking women. Perpetrator related factors were the most frequently stated causes of VAW. Thirty-five percent of the academicians defined themselves as at risk of some act of VAW. Recommendations for actions against violence were empowerment of women, increasing the educational levels in the society, and legal measures.
Academic women introduced an ecological approach for the explanation of VAW by stressing the importance of taking into account the global context of the occurrence of VAW. Similar studies with various community members -including men- will help to define targeted interventions.
Traditional forms of masculinity strongly influence men's and women's wellbeing.
This study has two aims: (i) to explore notions of various forms of masculinities in young Nicaraguan men participating in programs addressing sexual health, reproductive health, and/or gender equality and (ii) to find out how these young men perceive their involvement in actions aimed at reducing violence against women (VAW).
A qualitative grounded theory study. Data were collected through six focus groups and two in-depth interviews with altogether 62 young men.
Our analysis showed that the informants experienced a process of change, labeled ‘Expanding your mind’, in which we identified four interrelated subcategories: The apprentice, The responsible/respectful man, The proactive peer educator, and ‘The feminist man’. The process showed how an increased awareness of gender inequities facilitated the emergence of values (respect and responsibility) and behavior (thoughtful action) that contributed to increase the informant's critical thinking and agency at individual, social, and political levels. The process was influenced by individual and external factors.
Multiple progressive masculinities can emerge from programs challenging patriarchy in this Latin American setting. The masculinities identified in this study show a range of attitudes and behaviors; however, all lean toward more equitable gender relations. The results suggest that learning about sexual and reproductive health does not directly imply developing more gender-equitable attitudes and behaviors or a greater willingness to prevent VAW. It is paramount that interventions to challenge machismo in this setting continue and are expanded to reach more young men.
gender; grounded theory; masculinity; Nicaragua; young men; change
This qualitative study explores alcohol-serving venues as sites of risk or protection from violence against women (VAW) in one South African community. In 2010, we conducted in-depth interviews with 31 female patrons, 13 male patrons and 11 venue staff, and conducted structured observations in six alcohol venues. VAW was a common experience and venues contributed to risk through aggression, negative attitudes towards women, risks leaving the venues, and owners tolerating VAW. Concurrently, venues offered potential to avoid VAW through perceived safety and owner protection. Results highlight the influence of the venue environment and importance of addressing the setting of alcohol consumption.
South Africa; Qualitative; Violence against women; Gender-based violence; Alcohol; Venues; Gender
Violence against women (VAW) is a major public health problem. Translation of VAW research to policy and practice is an area that remains understudied, but provides the opportunity to examine knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) processes in a complex, multi-stakeholder context. In a series of studies including two randomized trials, the McMaster University VAW Research Program studied one key research gap: evidence about the effectiveness of screening women for exposure to intimate partner violence. This project developed and evaluated KTE strategies to share research findings with policymakers, health and community service providers, and women's advocates.
A longitudinal cross-sectional design, applying concurrent mixed data collection methods (surveys, interviews, and focus groups), was used to evaluate the utility of specific KTE strategies, including a series of workshops and a day-long Family Violence Knowledge Exchange Forum, on research sharing, uptake, and use.
Participants valued the opportunity to meet with researchers, provide feedback on key messages, and make personal connections with other stakeholders. A number of factors specific to the knowledge itself, stakeholders' contexts, and the nature of the knowledge gap being addressed influenced the uptake, sharing, and use of the research. The types of knowledge use changed across time, and were specifically related to both the types of decisions being made, and to stage of decision making; most reported use was conceptual or symbolic, with few examples of instrumental use. Participants did report actively sharing the research findings with their own networks. Further examination of these second-order knowledge-sharing processes is required, including development of appropriate methods and measures for its assessment. Some participants reported that they would not use the research evidence in their decision making when it contradicted professional experiences, while others used it to support apparently contradictory positions. The online wiki-based 'community of interest' requested by participants was not used.
Mobilizing knowledge in the area of VAW practice and policy is complex and resource-intensive, and must acknowledge and respect the values of identified knowledge users, while balancing the objectivity of the research and researchers. This paper provides important lessons learned about these processes, including attending to the potential unintended consequences of knowledge sharing.
This multi-national study hypothesized that higher levels of country-level gender equality would predict smaller differences in the frequency of women’s compared to men’s drinking in public (like bars and restaurants) settings and possibly private (home or party) settings. GENACIS project survey data with drinking contexts included 22 countries in Europe (8); the Americas (7); Asia (3); Australasia (2), and Africa (2), analyzed using hierarchical linear models (individuals nested within country). Age, gender and marital status were individual predictors; country-level gender equality as well as equality in economic participation, education, and political participation, and reproductive autonomy and context of violence against women measures were country-level variables. In separate models, more reproductive autonomy, economic participation, and educational attainment and less violence against women predicted smaller differences in drinking in public settings. Once controlling for country-level economic status, only equality in economic participation predicted the size of the gender difference. Most country-level variables did not explain the gender difference in frequency of drinking in private settings. Where gender equality predicted this difference, the direction of the findings was opposite from the direction in public settings, with more equality predicting a larger gender difference, although this relationship was no longer significant after controlling for country-level economic status. Findings suggest that country-level gender equality may influence gender differences in drinking. However, the effects of gender equality on drinking may depend on the specific alcohol measure, in this case drinking context, as well as on the aspect of gender equality considered. Similar studies that use only global measures of gender equality may miss key relationships. We consider potential implications for alcohol related consequences, policy and public health.
context of drinking; on- and off-premises alcohol use; gender equity; economic development; culture; hierarchical linear models (HLM); cross-national study; GENACIS
Objectives: There is uncertainty about whether position in a socioeconomic hierarchy confers different mortality risks on men and women. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of gender differences in socioeconomic inequality in risk of death.
Methods: This research systematically reviewed observational cohort studies describing all cause or cause specific mortality for populations aged 25–64 in developed countries. For inclusion in the review, mortality had to be reported stratified by gender and by one or more measures of socioeconomic status. For all eligible studies, five absolute and six relative measures of the socioeconomic inequality in mortality were computed for male and female populations separately.
Results: A total of 136 published papers were reviewed for eligibility, with 58 studies deemed eligible for inclusion. Of these eligible studies, 20 papers published data that permitted the computation of both absolute and relative measures of inequality. Absolute measures of socioeconomic mortality inequality for men and women generally agreed, with about 90% of studies indicating that male mortality was more unequal than female mortality across socioeconomic groups. In contrast, the pattern of relative inequality results across the 20 studies suggested that male and female socioeconomic inequality in mortality was equivalent.
Conclusions: Inferences about gender differences in socioeconomic inequality in mortality are sensitive to the choice of inequality measure. Wider understanding of this methodological issue would improve the clarity of the reporting and synthesis of evidence on the magnitude of health inequalities in populations.
This article provides a review of research literature on women who use violence with intimate partners. The central purpose is to inform service providers in the military and civilian communities who work with domestically violent women. The major points of this review are as follows: (a) women’s violence usually occurs in the context of violence against them by their male partners; (b) in general, women and men perpetrate equivalent levels of physical and psychological aggression, but evidence suggests that men perpetrate sexual abuse, coercive control, and stalking more frequently than women and that women also are much more frequently injured during domestic violence incidents; (c) women and men are equally likely to initiate physical violence in relationships involving less serious “situational couple violence,” and in relationships in which serious and very violent “intimate terrorism” occurs, men are much more likely to be perpetrators and women victims; (d) women’s physical violence is more likely than men’s violence to be motivated by self-defense and fear, whereas men’s physical violence is more likely than women’s to be driven by control motives; (e) studies of couples in mutually violent relationships find more negative effects for women than for men; and (f ) because of the many differences in behaviors and motivations between women’s and men’s violence, interventions based on male models of partner violence are likely not effective for many women.
women’s violence; women’s aggression; partner abuse; domestic violence
This study examined patterns of nine types of violence against women (VAW) and associated mental health problems. The following self-reported, lifetime violence victimization was examined among 1424 employed women: (1) childhood physical abuse, (2) childhood sexual abuse, (3) physical abuse between parents/guardians during childhood, (4) psychological intimate partner violence (IPV), (5) physical IPV, (6) sexual IPV, (7) adult physical or sexual assault by a non-intimate partner, (8) physical workplace violence, and (9) psychological workplace violence. Latent class analysis was used to identify homogenous patterns, called “classes,” of women's “yes/no” responses to experiencing these types of violence. The best model consisted of 4-classes characterized by the following probabilities: low violence (class 1: 63.1%), high psychological and physical IPV (class 2: 15.6%), high physical and psychological workplace violence (class 3: 12.4%), and moderate to high childhood abuse (class 4: 9.0%). When compared to class 1 (low violence), membership in classes 2 (IPV) and 4 (childhood abuse) was associated with screening positive for depression in the past week at baseline after controlling for the influence of demographic characteristics on class membership. Also, when compared to class 1 (low all), membership in class 2 (IPV) was associated with greater odds of screening positive for posttraumatic stress disorder in the past month at the six month follow-up assessment. Findings document distinct patterns of VAW and associated proximal and distal mental health outcomes. Implications for interventions aimed to improve employed women's health are discussed.
childhood abuse; intimate partner violence; workplace violence; posttraumatic stress; depression
‘One Man Can’ (OMC) is a rights-based gender equality and health programme implemented by Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa. It has been featured as an example of best practice by the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and the UN Population Fund, and translated into nearly a dozen languages and implemented all across Africa. South Africa has strong gender and HIV-related policies, but the highest documented level of men’s violence against women in the world, and the largest number of people living with HIV. In this context, OMC seeks to improve men’s relationships with their partners, children, and families, reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS, and reduce violence against women, men, and children. To understand whether and how OMC workshops brought about changes in men’s attitudes and practices related to parenting, an academic–non-government organisation partnership was carried out with the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Cape Town, and Sonke. The workshops appear to have contributed powerfully to improved parenting and more involved and responsible fathering. This article shares our findings in more detail and discusses the promises and challenges of gender-transformative work with men, underscoring the implications of this work for the health and well-being of women, children, and men.
fatherhood; masculinities; gender equality; care; children; ‘One Man Can’
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious social issue in Japan. In order to start effective interventions for abused women, the appropriate method of screening for IPV in healthcare settings needs clarifying. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a face-to-face interview with a self-administered questionnaire. We used the Violence Against Women Screen (VAWS), a Japanese screening instrument for intimate partner violence (IPV), for identifying pregnant women who have experienced abuse.
We conducted a randomised controlled trial to screen participants at three points in time in a prenatal clinic in Tokyo, Japan. There were 328 consenting women between 14 and 25 weeks of pregnancy who were consecutively selected and randomly assigned to either the interview or self-administered questionnaire group. Both groups completed the same screening instrument three times during their pregnancy. The primary outcome was the total number of women identified by each screening method and the secondary outcome was the effect of the screening as measured by the women's comfort level and their expressed need to consult with the nurse.
For all three screenings, the identification rate in the interview group was significantly lower than that for the self-administered questionnaire group (relative risk 0.66, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.97), even after controlling for smoking (adjusted odds ratio 0.59, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.98). The two groups did not differ for secondary outcomes.
The self-administered questionnaire identified more IPV than the face-to-face interview when screening pregnant women in a Japanese prenatal clinic.
The prevalence of physical domestic violence – violence against women perpetrated by husbands – is staggeringly high across the Indian subcontinent. Although gender-based power dynamics are thought to underlie women's vulnerability, relatively little is known about risk and protective factors. This prospective study in southern India examined the association between key economic aspects of gender-based power, namely spousal employment status, and physical domestic violence. In 2005-2006, 744 married women, aged 16-25, residing in low-income communities in Bangalore, India were enrolled in the study. Data were collected at enrolment, 12 and 24 months. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the prospective association between women's employment status, their perceptions of their husband's employment stability, and domestic violence. Women who were unemployed at one visit and began employment by the next visit had an 80% higher odds of violence, as compared to women who maintained their unemployed status. Similarly, women whose husbands had stable employment at one visit and newly had difficulty with employment had 1.7 times the odds of violence, as compared to women whose husbands maintained their stable employment. To our knowledge, this study is the first from a developing country to confirm that changes in spousal employment status are associated with subsequent changes in violence risk. It points to the complex challenges of violence prevention, including the need for interventions among men and gender transformative approaches to promote gender-equitable attitudes, practices and norms among men and women.
India; gender; domestic violence; longitudinal analysis; economic empowerment; intimate partner violence (IPV); employment status
Measurements of intimate partner violence (IPV) based on acts of violence have repeatedly found substantial bilateral violence between intimates. However, the context of this violence is not well defined by acts alone. The objective of this research was to compare differences in women and men within each IPV status category (victim, perpetrator, and both) with respect to levels of battering as defined by their scores on the Women’s Experience With Battering Scale (WEB), which asks gender-neutral questions about the abuse of power and control and fear in an intimate relationship. In our study, women disclosed higher levels of battering on the WEB, despite IPV status (victimization or both victimization and perpetration). In addition, female IPV victims were 5 times more likely than their male counterparts to disclose high rates of battering on the WEB. Depressive symptoms, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, African American race, and IPV victimization were independently associated with higher WEB scores.
intimate partner violence; victim; perpetrator; battering; mental health; Women’s Experience With Battering Scale
The worldwide spread of tobacco use in recent decades raises questions about the relative prevalence of smoking among men and women. Does the degree of gender equality in nations promote equality in cigarette use? Does rising use of cigarettes by women stem from the stage of cigarette diffusion and earlier increases among men? Or have changes in economic factors and smoking policy affected the sexes differently? This study uses aggregate data for 106 nations, measures of smoking prevalence circa 2000, and lagged measures of gender equality, cigarette diffusion, and tobacco access to address these questions and evaluate the underlying theories. With the logged ratio of female to male prevalence as the dependent variable, regression results reveal that gender equality has inconsistent effects on women’s smoking relative to men, cigarette diffusion has more consistent and moderately strong effects, and economic factors have weak effects. Global patterns of adoption of cigarettes by women appear most closely associated with the early adoption by men and then movement through a regular pattern of cigarette diffusion.
cigarette diffusion; gender; global patterns; smoking
Interpersonal violence whether it is sexual or nonsexual, remains a major problem in large parts of the world. Sexual violence against children and women brings with it long-term sequelae, both psychiatrically and socially. Apart from sexual gratification itself, sexual violence against women is often a result of unequal power equations both real and perceived between men and women and is also strongly influenced by cultural factors and values. Within sociocentric and ego-centric cultures, the roles and representations of genders, and attitudes toward sexual violence differ. Cultures which are described as feminist, provide equal power to both men and women. Sexual violence is likely to occur more commonly in cultures that foster beliefs of perceived male superiority and social and cultural inferiority of women. Although culture is an important factor to understand sexual violence in its entirety, we need to look at, as well as beyond cultural structures, their strengths and weaknesses.
Culture; gender; sexual violence; women
Gender-based violence rooted in norms, socialization practices, structural factors, and policies that underlie men's abusive practices against married women in India is exacerbated by alcohol. The intersection of domestic violence, childhood exposure to alcohol and frustration, which contribute to drinking and its consequences including forced sex is explored through analysis of data obtained from 486 married men living with their wives in a low-income area of Greater Mumbai. SEM shows pathways linking work-related stress, greater exposure to alcohol as a child, being a heavy drinker, and having more sexual partners (a proxy for HIV risk). In-depth ethnographic interviews with 44 married women in the study communities reveal the consequences of alcohol on women's lives showing how married women associate alcohol use and violence with different patterns of drinking. The study suggests ways alcohol use leads from physical and verbal abuse to emotional and sexual violence in marriage. Implications for gendered multi-level interventions addressing violence and HIV risk are explored.
Domestic violence; Alcohol; HIV/AIDS
World Health Organization has identified violence against children as a growing public-health issue with a global magnitude. This paper explored violence against children as a challenge in the developing world using Pakistan as a case study. A systematic review of existing research and literature on violence against children was followed by assessing the magnitude of this challenge and its impact on policy. Most research done in Pakistan is observational, descriptive, and anecdotal with data collected through survey methods and interviews with small sample sizes. The findings suggest that the confluence of macro risk factors, such as poverty, poor legal protections, illiteracy, large family size, and unemployment, create an enabling environment for violence against children. Lack of empirical data makes it difficult to assess the magnitude of this issue. The health problems reported and the extent of human potential destroyed are unknown. Conclusion calls for focused research to examine the prevalence, potential interventions, and policies in Pakistan.
Child abuse; Human development; Public health; Violence; Pakistan
Men and women differ substantially in regard to degrees of insulin resistance, body composition, and energy balance. Adipose tissue distribution, in particular the presence of elevated visceral and hepatic adiposity, plays a central role in the development of insulin resistance and obesity-related complications.
This review summarizes published data on gender differences in insulin resistance, body composition, and energy balance, to provide insight into novel gender-specific avenues of research as well as gender-tailored treatments of insulin resistance, visceral adiposity, and obesity.
English-language articles were identified from searches of the PubMed database through November 2008, and by reviewing the references cited in these reports. Searches included combinations of the following terms: gender, sex, insulin resistance, body composition, energy balance, and hepatic adipose tissue.
For a given body mass index, men were reported to have more lean mass, women to have higher adiposity. Men were also found to have more visceral and hepatic adipose tissue, whereas women had more peripheral or subcutaneous adipose tissue. These differences, as well as differences in sex hormones and adipokines, may contribute to a more insulin-sensitive environment in women than in men. When normalized to kilograms of lean body mass, men and women had similar resting energy expenditure, but physical energy expenditure was more closely related to percent body fat in men than in women.
Greater amounts of visceral and hepatic adipose tissue, in conjunction with the lack of a possible protective effect of estrogen, may be related to higher insulin resistance in men compared with women.
gender; insulin; visceral adipose tissue; fat distribution; body composition; energy balance
To explore gender differences in prevalence, types, perpetrators and correlates of recent violence experiences among university students at campus clinics at 5 universities in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest U.S. and Canada.
Systematic survey of students presenting for routine primary care visits (N=2,091), pencil-&-paper screen for recent emotional and physical violence exposure (past 6 months), demographics, plus sensation seeking, at-risk alcohol use, and depression. Chi-square tests compared prevalence by gender; correlates for types of violence were analyzed separately for men and women using chi-square with adjusted standardized residuals comparing no violence, intimate partner violence (IPV) and other violence (Other).
Similar rates of men (17%) and women (16%) reported any violence in the past 6 months; women were more likely to report emotional and men to report physical violence. Of those reporting emotional violence, 45.5% women and 50% men indicated it was IPV, and 23.7% women and 20.9% men reported physical IPV. Correlates differed by gender; demographics were not linked to IPV. At-risk drinking was associated with both IPV and Other violence for women, but only Other violence for men. Depression was the only correlate significantly linked to IPV for men.
Recent violence exposure among university students affects nearly 1 in 5 attending campus clinics. Screening for violence exposure should include both men and women, especially students who indicate heavy drinking patterns or depressive symptoms. Campus health promotion interventions should address healthy dating relationships. Further research on IPV among college men is needed.
Campus health clinics; relationship violence; violence exposure; college students; alcohol use; depression; gender differences
In the field of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention, there has been increasing interest in the role that gender plays in HIV and violence risk, and in successfully engaging men in the response. This article highlights findings from more than 10 studies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America—conducted from 1997 through 2007 as part of the Horizons program—that have contributed to understanding the relationship between gender and men's behaviors, developing useful measurement tools for gender norms, and designing and evaluating the impact of gender-focused program strategies. Studies showed significant associations between support for inequitable norms and risk, such as more partner violence and less condom use. Programmatic lessons learned ranged from insights into appropriate media messages, to strategies to engage men in critically reflecting upon gender inequality, to the qualities of successful program facilitators. The portfolio of work reveals the potential and importance of directly addressing gender dynamics in HIV- and violence-prevention programs for both men and women.
Smaller gender differences in alcohol consumption are often interpreted to mean something about women’s drinking, for example, that women are increasing consumption to men’s levels. However, prior research is unclear. This study sought to determine whether variation in size of gender differences in alcohol consumption across U.S. states was due to male or female consumption. Data from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were used to test the hypothesis that variation in size of gender differences would be associated with women’s, but not men’s consumption. Pearson’s correlations examined associations between gender-specific values of and gender differences in consumption in each state. The size of gender difference was associated with proportion of female, but not male, drinkers. Conversely, size of gender difference was associated with male frequency, five-plus frequency, volume, and risky drinking, but not female frequency, five-plus frequency, volume, or risky drinking. These findings suggest that smaller gender differences in cross-sectional studies cannot be interpreted as due to women’s alcohol consumption.
Alcohol consumption; gender; woman’s role
This population-based study investigated the different forms, magnitude and risk factors of men's violence against women in intimate relationships in a rural part of northern Vietnam and whether a difference in risk factors were at hand for the different forms of violence. Vietnam has undergone a rapid transition in the last 20 years, moving towards a more equal situation for men and women however, Confucian doctrine is still strong and little is known about men's violence against women within the Vietnamese family.
This is a cross-sectional population-based study that used a questionnaire developed by the World Health Organisation for investigating women's health and violence against women in different settings. Face-to face structured interviewing was performed and 883 married women, aged 17 to 60 participated. Bi- and multivariate analyses was used for risk factor assessment.
The lifetime prevalence of physical violence was 30.9 percent and past year prevalence was 8.3 per cent, while the corresponding figures for physical and sexual violence combined was 32.7 and 9.2 percent. The lifetime prevalence was highest for psychological abuse (27.9 percent) as a single entity. In most cases the violence was of a severe nature and exercised as repeated acts over time. Woman's low educational level, husband's low education, low household income and the husband having more than one wife/partner were risk factors for lifetime and past year physical/sexual violence. The pattern of factors associated with psychological abuse alone was however different. Husband's low professional status and women's intermediate level of education appeared as risk factors.
Men's violence against women in intimate relationships is commonly occurring in rural Vietnam. There is an obvious need of preventive and treatment activities. Our findings point at that pure psychological abuse is different from physical/sexual violence in terms of differing characteristics of the perpetrators and it might be that also different strategies are needed to reduce and prevent this violence.
Arguments about the spread of gender egalitarian values through the population highlight several sources of change. First, structural arguments point to increases in the proportion of women with high education, jobs with good pay, commitment to careers outside the family, and direct interests in gender equality. Second, value shift arguments contend that gender norms change with social and economic development among women and men in diverse positions – traditional and non-traditional alike. Third, diffusion arguments suggest that structural change leads to adoption of new ideas and values supportive of gender equality by non-traditional and innovative groups in society, but that the new ideas later diffuse to other groups through cultural processes. Using the General Social Survey from 1977 to 2006 and comparing the determinants of gender egalitarianism across 86 cohorts born from roughly 1900 through 1985, multilevel models support the diffusion arguments.
Domestic violence is a common problem that may affect more than a quarter of women. It is a complex area in which to undertake research. Studies often focus on selected populations and exhibit a diversity of design, making comparison difficult. This review focuses on physical violence by men against women partners or ex-partners, and exemplifies important issues for general practitioners. Domestic violence frequently goes undetected. This may be the result of doctor's fears of exploring an area perceived as time-consuming, where knowledge is lacking and where they feel powerless to 'fix' the situation. Women may not reveal that they are experiencing violence, sometimes because doctors are unsympathetic or hostile. Nevertheless, women wish to be asked routinely about physical abuse and want to receive immediate advice and information about their options if necessary. Women experience a range of health and social problems in association with domestic violence, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and pregnancy complications. However, none of these features is specific enough to be useful as an indicator of violence. Therefore, doctors should routinely ask all women direct questions about abuse. This recommendation can be incorporated into guidelines, which should be implemented widely in the UK, to improve the care of women experiencing domestic violence. In parallel with this, the educational needs of general practitioners should be addressed. Further research is needed to establish the prevalence of domestic violence in women presenting to general practice and to investigate how the problem is currently being addressed. If progress is to be made in tackling domestic violence, action within primary care is just one part of this: a fundamental change in the attitudes of men towards women is required.
Many evolutionary psychology studies have addressed the topic of mate preferences, focusing particularly on gender and cultural differences. However, the extent to which situational and environmental variables might affect mate preferences has been comparatively neglected. We tested 288 participants in order to investigate the perceived relative importance of six traits of an ideal partner (wealth, dominance, intelligence, height, kindness, attractiveness) under four different hypothetical scenarios (status quo/nowadays, violence/post-nuclear, poverty/resource exhaustion, prosperity/global well-being). An equal number of participants (36 women, 36 men) was allotted to each scenario; each was asked to allocate 120 points across the six traits according to their perceived value. Overall, intelligence was the trait to which participants assigned most importance, followed by kindness and attractiveness, and then by wealth, dominance and height. Men appraised attractiveness as more valuable than women. Scenario strongly influenced the relative importance attributed to traits, the main finding being that wealth and dominance were more valued in the poverty and post-nuclear scenarios, respectively, compared to the other scenarios. Scenario manipulation generally had similar effects in both sexes, but women appeared particularly prone to trade off other traits for dominance in the violence scenario, and men particularly prone to trade off other traits for wealth in the poverty scenario. Our results are in line with other correlational studies of situational variables and mate preferences, and represent strong evidence of a causal relationship of environmental factors on specific mate preferences, corroborating the notion of an evolved plasticity to current ecological conditions. A control experiment seems to suggest that our scenarios can be considered as realistic descriptions of the intended ecological conditions.
It has been said that women hold up half the sky. In the HIV epidemic, women carry half the burden of the epidemic, perhaps even more. The HIV burden on women is dramatically higher in some regions, certain age groups and among marginalized groups, such as female sex workers. Women's vulnerability to HIV is exacerbated by gender inequality and domestic violence.
The global effort towards elimination of paediatric HIV and keeping mothers alive deserves applause. However, the needs of women go beyond their child-bearing age or potentials and/or reproductive desires and must be recognized in the global HIV agenda. In particular, more female-controlled prevention tools are urgently required to allow women to protect themselves.
It is time to turn the tide through promoting gender equality and genuinely committing to gender-responsive policies and programmes, and encouraging a more gender-aware research agenda that can generate necessary evidence. In recognition of International Women's Day, the Journal of the International AIDS Society is pleased to launch a thematic series to highlight articles that address the different dimensions of HIV as they relate to women.