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Can conservatism make women more vulnerable to violence?
  • Victor Araújo,
  • Malu Gatto
Victor Araújo

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Malu Gatto
University of Zurich

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Violence against women (VAW) affects at least 35% of women worldwide. The need to combat VAW is seemingly noncontroversial: As existing work shows, ideology does not explain governments’ propensity to adopt anti-VAW legislation. Yet, effectively implementing anti-VAW legislation requires complex policy frameworks at odds with conservative values. Voters’ preferences can meaningfully influence policy outputs, so can electoral conservatism make women more vulnerable to violence? Employing data from 5,570 Brazilian municipalities, we find that conservatism in the electorate is associated with the adoption of fewer anti-VAW policies. With data from a nationally-representative survey of Brazilian respondents (N=2,086), we then show that conservative voters are less likely to prioritize the need for tackling VAW. That is, the adoption of fewer anti-VAW policies in conservative municipalities reflects conservative voters’ policy preferences. Critically, our results suggest that in contexts where the electorate holds conservative preferences, policy responsiveness may incur costs to women’s lives.
Jan 2022Published in Comparative Political Studies volume 55 issue 1 on pages 122-153. 10.1177/00104140211024313