Is Working Risky or Protective for Married Adolescent Girls in Urban Slums in Kenya? An Exploration of the Relationship between Work, Savings and Physical Violence

Eunice N. Muthengi, Population Council Kenya
Tabither M. Gitau, Population Council Kenya
Karen Austrian, Population Council Kenya

Previous studies have shown that women’s empowerment, though beneficial in many aspects, can also increase the risk of intimate-partner violence (IPV). This study seeks to examine the effects of work on experience of physical violence among married adolescents, and to understand the impact of access to independent financial resources (savings) on this risk. Authors draw on marital dependency theory the asset-building framework and the ecological model. Logistic regression is used with a unique sample of married adolescents residing in urban slums in four cities and towns in Kenya. This is complemented by analysis of in-depth interviews with adolescent girls and young men. Results show that work is associated with an increased risk of IPV, but only for girls who are not saving regularly, and having a partner who trusts the girl with money is protective. Savings decrease girls’ dependency on men and allow them to leave abusive partners.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 52: The Causes and Consequences of Gender-Based Violence