Water insecurity is associated with gender-based violence: A mixed-methods study in Indonesia

Stroma Cole, Paula Tallman, Gabriela Salmon-Mulanovich, Binahayati Rusyidi

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Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a global pandemic and water insecurity is increasing in intensity and extent. This study explores the association between these two global health threats. Cross-sectional, quantitative data were collected via surveys (n = 365 adult women) to measure household water insecurity (HWI) and women's experiences of GBV in the last year. Qualitative data were collected from semi-structured interviews (n = 24 men and women), two focus group discussions (n = 25 men and women) and a multi-stakeholder meeting (n = 35 men and women) to explore experiences, attitudes and risk factors associated with HWI and GBV. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that women in water insecure households were more than twice as likely to report experiencing GBV in the last year (OR = 2.2, CI: 1.0–4.9, p = 0.051). Examining household water insecurity scores as a continuous variable revealed an increased odds of reporting GBV with each increase in the HWISE score (OR = 1.1, CI: 1.0; 1.1, p < 0.001). Qualitative data indicates that the intersection between HWI, a patriarchal social organization and a caste system produced water-related conflicts between intimate partners, between daughters-in-law and their in-laws, and between masters and enslaved women. These results are presented using an integrated theoretical framework – a Feminist Political Ecology of Health (FPEH) – to illustrate the many ways women encounter and experience multi-dimensional forms of violence across scales in connection to water insecurity. The combination of robust qualitative and quantitative data presented in this study suggests that HWI may be causally related to GBV in this context.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo116507
PublicaciónSocial Science and Medicine
EstadoPublicada - mar. 2024
Publicado de forma externa


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