The Effects of Violence on Women's Employment
This research is based on the first random survey to address whether women who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic violence have lower employment rates than women who have not. Standardized interviews of 824 English- and Spanish-speaking adult women living in a low-income neighborhood were conducted, as well as 24 in-depth interviews with survey respondents. Approximately half of the respondents reported having experienced direct verbal and symbolic aggression, such as harassment and threats, in the 12 months prior to interview. Eighteen percent experienced physical aggression. Analysis of the data suggests that younger women and mothers of young children are more at risk of violence than older women. Education and training seem not to predict risk. Contrary to expectation, women who reported male violence and coercion did not differ significantly in current employment status from those who did not report such aggression. However, those who reported male violence were more likely to report having been unemployed and to suffer from physical and mental health problems that can affect employability and job performance. They also had lower personal incomes, and were significantly more likely to receive public assistance than women who did not report domestic violence. Women who had experienced male violence reported more problems with depression, anxiety, and anger. Their responses suggest that womenÕs experience of male violence and coercion may influence their labor market experiences over time, rather than at any given moment. More research is needed to determine the complex relationships between abuse and employment.
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