Exploring the Relationship Between Women's Empowerment and Gender Based Violence Among Smallholder Farmers in La Guajira, Colombia Open Access

Volper, Camille (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/k930bz23b?locale=en


Gender based violence (GBV) is a major public health issue affecting Colombian women. This study examined the relationship between women’s empowerment and GBV in La Guajira, Colombia. A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted to explore participants perceptions surrounding their personal lived experiences, relationships with partners, family, community, larger political context and gender normative environment. 21 in-depth interviews were conducted with men and women smallholder farmers, who were above the age of 18, and married or living with a partner. Interviews took place in 11 communities in the department of La Guajira, in the northeast region of Colombia. Women’s personal lived experiences, relationships with their partners and families heavily influenced their levels of empowerment and experiences of violence. Furthermore, social networks, socioeconomic resources, and employment opportunities all shaped the advancement of women in their communities. The political environment manifested itself through participants responses. Participants cited a lack of infrastructure, displacement, and armed conflict affecting their wellbeing. Additionally, an un-egalitarian gender normative environment permeated every level of the social ecology further influencing the occurrence of GBV. Cases of emotional violence, physical violence, sexual violence and femicide were identified. The violence was situated within a larger constellation of rigid gender norms that silenced discussions surrounding GBV. This study was implemented in collaboration with WFP Colombia as it evaluated the impact of the organizations gender trainings on preventing GBV. The findings from this study have salient implications for women’s empowerment interventions to further promote gender equality and prevent GBV.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction 1

Gender Based Violence 1

Women’s Empowerment 1

Colombian Context 2

La Guajira, Colombia 2

Social Protection Programs 3

Purpose 3

Research Objective 3

Significance 4

Theoretical Application 4

Chapter 2. Literature Review 5

Introduction 5

Gender Based Violence 5

Women’s Empowerment 6

Relationship Between Women’s Empowerment and Gender Based Violence 8

Social Empowerment Interventions 8

Economic Empowerment Interventions 9

Political Empowerment Interventions 10

Barriers to Interventions 10

Gaps in the Literature 11

Chapter 3: Manuscript 12

Chapter 4: Discussion 34

Summary 34

Limitations 36

Implications for Research 37

Implications for Practice and Policy 37

Conclusion 39

References 40

Appendix A: Interview Guide 45

Appendix B: Codebook 46

Appendix C: Emory Institutional Review Board Letter 47

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