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Essays on Women Empowerment Focusing on Paid Family Leave and Domestic Violence


Empowerment of women is one of the main processes through which nations, communities, and organizations pursue economic development and improved human rights. Many laws, regulations, and social norms, as well as socioeconomic circumstances, affect women’s empowerment, which in turn influences women’s roles in the community and their contribution to the economy. In this research we study both empowering and disempowering factors for women, and the downstream effect on women’s social and economic lives. In the first chapter we study paid family leave as an empowering factor for women. The results show that paid family leave does not affect overall labor supply of women, suggesting that paid time leave is likely compensated by increase in number of women participating in the labor force. The second and third chapters offer a new insight into domestic violence and factors contributing to it. One in three women across the world have reported experiencing some form of physical or sexual violence by their intimate partners. Domestic violence is not only a violation of women's human rights, but also the root cause for an array of long-term physical and psychological problems. The second chapter analyzes the effects of rainfall on domestic violence, arguing that rain affects income and income has a direct impact on human behavior including violence. We show that increase in rain (below catasrophic flood levels) decreases violence, suggesting that violence declines with household resources. We also show that extreme rainfall events increase violence. The third chapter examines the correlation between domestic violence and household characteristics such as age, education and the gap between husband and wife. We find that family history of violence makes girls more likely to experience and even accept and justify violence by their intimate partners. The results also show that poorer households, lower educated women, and younger women are more prone to experiencing domestic violence.

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