Don’t burn the food

In a sample of 13 African countries between 1999 and 2004, 52% of women surveyed say they think that wife beating is justified if she neglects the children; around 45% think it’s justified if she goes out without telling the husband or argues with him; 36% if she refuses sex, and 30% if she burns the food.

And this is what the women think.

We live in a strange world.

(Source: Demographic and Health Surveys, publicly available at www.measuredhs.com. Thanks to Emily Oster for forwarding these statistics to me.)


PSD

I am absolutely blown away by these numbers.
To me -in my ethnocentric mind- this just doesn't even seem possible. It's shocking to think that over here we wonder why there aren't more women on boards of directors, while over there it is (in some cases)acceptable to beat your wife over burnt food.

I would be curious to see time series data - possibly with downward trends. i hope that is/will be the case

anntotusek

Yes, well, just remember that this is a continent on which extremely non-sterile "surgical" (and I use the term VERY loosely) removal of the clitoris is practiced to prevent women from becoming promiscuous. One might think that it would be the men that would be perpetuating this, but it's not- it's the women. The prevailing attitude seems to be either of agreement with it's efficacy in preventing promiscuity or "I had to put up with it, so do you."

minderbender

This reminds me of an old debate about the responsibility of the Catholic Church for its anti-condom policy in Africa.

me: the Church is causing massive suffering

Church defender: if people actually obeyed Catholic sexual guidelines, AIDS wouldn't be a problem

me: but the Church doesn't get to make rules for angels, it makes rules for humans, and those humans would be better off with widespread condom use

Church defender: anyone who obeys the Church's rules doesn't get HIV

me: not true, wives can be infected by husbands

Church defender: that's their choice... any self-respecting woman shouldn't sleep with her husband if she suspects him of adultery

me: sigh

John S.

I think the answers would be quite different if the questions were personalized: "Your husband accuses you of neglecting the children. Is it permissible for him to beat you?"

self

John - at least one case in the US where a husband who neglects the wife, she can get away with murdering the children (chills up my spine)

Lobes

I'd suspect that husband beating would have a high rate of acceptance as well.

Citizen Deux

It is curious that the only way to change these beliefs is to essentially destroy the current society.

Hmmmm...we had to destroy the village to save it...

Princess Leia

I guess there's a reason why I'm not married...

dratskee

That's really terrible. Though we shouldn't get too "ah, those hopeless Africans" smug either. Liberia just elected a female president. How are we doing on that?

PSD

I am absolutely blown away by these numbers.
To me -in my ethnocentric mind- this just doesn't even seem possible. It's shocking to think that over here we wonder why there aren't more women on boards of directors, while over there it is (in some cases)acceptable to beat your wife over burnt food.

I would be curious to see time series data - possibly with downward trends. i hope that is/will be the case

anntotusek

Yes, well, just remember that this is a continent on which extremely non-sterile "surgical" (and I use the term VERY loosely) removal of the clitoris is practiced to prevent women from becoming promiscuous. One might think that it would be the men that would be perpetuating this, but it's not- it's the women. The prevailing attitude seems to be either of agreement with it's efficacy in preventing promiscuity or "I had to put up with it, so do you."

minderbender

This reminds me of an old debate about the responsibility of the Catholic Church for its anti-condom policy in Africa.

me: the Church is causing massive suffering

Church defender: if people actually obeyed Catholic sexual guidelines, AIDS wouldn't be a problem

me: but the Church doesn't get to make rules for angels, it makes rules for humans, and those humans would be better off with widespread condom use

Church defender: anyone who obeys the Church's rules doesn't get HIV

me: not true, wives can be infected by husbands

Church defender: that's their choice... any self-respecting woman shouldn't sleep with her husband if she suspects him of adultery

me: sigh

John S.

I think the answers would be quite different if the questions were personalized: "Your husband accuses you of neglecting the children. Is it permissible for him to beat you?"

self

John - at least one case in the US where a husband who neglects the wife, she can get away with murdering the children (chills up my spine)

Lobes

I'd suspect that husband beating would have a high rate of acceptance as well.

Citizen Deux

It is curious that the only way to change these beliefs is to essentially destroy the current society.

Hmmmm...we had to destroy the village to save it...

Princess Leia

I guess there's a reason why I'm not married...

dratskee

That's really terrible. Though we shouldn't get too "ah, those hopeless Africans" smug either. Liberia just elected a female president. How are we doing on that?

Gideon Yuval

I notice that, in http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-10-223.pdf , the women support wife-beating more than the men

Laleh Behjat

To show how actually obscene this is, I have done a little rewrite:
In a sample of 13 African countries between 1999 and 2004, 52% of men surveyed say they think that berating a husband is justified if he neglects the children and around 45% think it’s justified if he goes out without telling the wife or argues with her.