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maria wemrell

Maria Wemrell

Docent

maria wemrell

Complex expressions of power. Forms of inequality in violent intimate relationships in Sweden

Author

  • Maria Wemrell
  • Linda Hiltunen

Summary, in English

Despite highly rated country-level gender equality, survey-reported experiences of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) are common in Sweden, as in neighbouring Nordic countries. This apparently contradictory situation has been referred to as a Nordic Paradox. Among potential partial explanations for this supposed paradox, the complex or multidimensional nature of gender in/equality has been pointed out. While attempts to measure and compare country-level gender equality have endeavored to encompass different aspects, such as the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) gender equality index which assembles data pertaining to the six domains of work, money, knowledge, time, power and health, it has been suggested that such indexes do not necessarily give a full picture of all dimensions of gender inequality that are of relevance for IPVAW.
Drawing on the six domains considered in the EIGE gender equality index, this study investigates women’s experiences of gender in/equality in violent intimate relationships. Qualitative in-depth interviews were carried out with 23 women exposed to IPVAW in Sweden, and the material was thematically analyzed. Looking at how the women spoke about work, money, knowledge, time, power and health, the study shows that the experienced violence was described as having influenced all of these domains of the women’s lives, sometimes creating pressure towards subordination in ways that may not be congruent with or readily apparent in more quantitative measures of gender equality. In the domain of money, for example, women experienced forms of domination also in cases where they earned as much as, or more than, the violent partner, while in the domain of knowledge, the women’s desired or attained education could provoke violence. In the domain of work, several women were employed but experienced barriers to fulfilling their work tasks due to violence. Violent power dynamics could thus permeate several areas of the women’s lives, affecting their level of empowerment in these domains, including in intimate relationships which may have looked more gender equal on the surface. We conclude that in the women’s accounts, the relationship between gender in/equality and IPVAW in Sweden is complex.

Department/s

  • Department of Gender Studies
  • Social Epidemiology

Publishing year

2022

Language

English

Document type

Conference paper: abstract

Topic

  • Gender Studies

Conference name

Sociologidagarna

Conference date

2022-03-16 - 2022-03-18

Conference place

Uppsala, Sweden

Status

Published

Research group

  • Social Epidemiology