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37% women in Bihar believe man can beat his wife if she argues

The National Family Health Survey-4 report says even 56% working women agreed with at least one reason for wife-beating.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2017 17:44 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
IIPS,wife beating,man can beat wife
The NFHS-4 report, released recently, has cited wife-beating among two hurdles that prevented women from attaining gender equality. (Representative photo)

A substantial number of women in Bihar seem to condone domestic violence with 37% saying they believe that a man has the right to spank his wife if she argued with him, a survey has found.

Another 41% of the 45,812 women surveyed as part of the decadal National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4, believe that a man was justified in beating his wife if she did not respect her in-laws. The report was released last week.

According to the NFHS-4 findings on Bihar, wife-beating and a husband’s right to have sex with his wife irrespective of her wishes were the two hurdles that prevented women from attaining gender equality.

Mumbai-based firm, the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), had undertaken the survey between March and August 2015 on behalf of the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

Shockingly, there is a list of reasons women thought their husbands were justified in beating them. These include neglecting their house or children (35%), not cooking food properly (30%) and infidelity (29%).

Even 56% working women agreed with at least one reason for wife-beating. Forty-nine per cent in the 15-19 age group, 37% urban women and 36% girls, having a minimum educational qualification up to intermediate, also concurred on this.

IIPS researcher Y Vaidehi sounded a note of caution, saying, “Although urban and educated persons are less likely to agree with wife-beating, these characteristics are not sufficient to supplant beliefs in gender egalitarian norms.”

Women accorded higher weightage to a man’s chastity than his suffering from a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in their preference to have sex. Around 84% of women believed that a wife was justified in refusing to have sex with her husband if she knew that he was cheating on her and having sex with other women. Another 83% believed that women were right in refusing the husband if he was suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.

Eighty per cent averred that a woman had the right to refuse her husband if she was not in a playful mood, the report said.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 12:54 IST