Publications

A relational perspective on women’s empowerment: Intimate partner violence and empowerment among women entrepreneurs in Vietnam

Huis, Marloes Anne; Hansen, Nina; Lensink, Robert; Otten, Sabine

Summary

Research has mainly studied women’s empowerment assessing personal (e.g., self-esteem) or relational (e.g., decision-making) empowerment indicators. Women are not isolated individuals; they are embedded in social relationships. This is especially relevant in more collectivist societies. The current research provides a relational perspective on how husbands may hamper women’s empowerment by inflicting intimate partner violence (IPV) assessing women’s self-reported experience. We tested the link between self-esteem and experienced IPV on financial intra-household decision-making power among women entrepreneurs (N = 1,347) in Northern Vietnam, a collectivistic society undergoing economic development. We report two measurement points. As expected, self-esteem (and not IPV) was positively related to more power in intra-household decision-making on small expenditures, which are traditionally taken by women. However, IPV (and not self-esteem) was related to less decision-making power on larger expenditures, traditionally a domain outside women’s power. We test and discuss the directionality of the effects and stress the importance of considering women’s close relationship when investigating signs of women’s empowerment.