Gender Inequity Associated with Increased Child Physical Abuse and Neglect: a Cross-Country Analysis of Population-Based Surveys and Country-Level Statistics
Gender inequity is proposed as a societal-level risk factor for child maltreatment. However, most cross-national research examining this association is limited to developing countries and has used limited measures of gender inequity and child homicides as a proxy for child maltreatment. To examine the relationship between gender inequity and child maltreatment, we used caregivers’ reported use of severe physical punishment (proxy for physical abuse) and children under 5 left alone or under the care of another child younger than 10 years of age (supervisory neglect) and three indices of gender inequity (the Social and Institutional Gender Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Gender Gap Index) from 57 countries, over half of which were developing countries. We found all three gender inequity indices to be significantly associated with physical abuse and two of the three to be significantly associated with neglect, after controlling for country-level development. Based on these findings, efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect might benefit from reducing gender inequity.
KeywordsChild abuse Child neglect Child maltreatment Etiology Cross-national
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