Why India Fights Violence Against Women: Feminist Movements, Polical Co-optation and Societal Norms

Sen, Paromita, Foreign Affairs - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Walsh, Denise, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

In this paper I study the primary determinants of successful Violence Against Women legislation in national legislatures, with a specific focus on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 passed in India. I employ Ordered Logistic Models to determine the effect of civic society and institutions on Violence Against Women legislation. I utilize observational data, modifying Htun and Weldon's VAW Dataset (2012) by adding new variables of interest to the study. The results indicate that feminist movements work in tandem with government institutions to bring about legislation, contrary to the current stress on autonomous feminist movements. However, an in-depth analysis of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 passed in response to civic protests calls into question the apparent success of the feminist movement, in part because of the implications of political co-optation and patriarchal attitudes on the acceptance and implementation of VAW legislation. Incongruence between feminist demands and societal norms weaken legislative effectiveness and therefore allows the state to circumvent the institutional failures and divert attention to the individual level rather than address the systemic issue of violence against women.

MA (Master of Arts)
legislation, India, VAW, Sexual assault
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: