“A fascinating study that is monumental in its research scope and ambitions is published in the fall American Political Science Review, the flagship scholarly journal for the discipline. Researchers S. Laurel Weldon and Mala Htun have conducted the largest global study on violence against women. They’re interested in progressive policy change, and how it happens.*
The scope of their data is unprecedented. It includes every region of the world, 70 countries, and encompasses 85 percent of the world’s population. The data analysis alone took five years, and the research itself was conducted over four decades.
Out of this herculean research effort, Weldon and Htun conclude that the “mobilization of feminist movements is more important for change than the wealth of nations, left-wing political parties, or the number of women politicians” in a country, according to the APSR press release.
The authors found that these vibrant and autonomous feminist movements were the first to articulate the issue of violence against women, mobilize political will against it, and catalyze government action. Other organizations, even those with progressive leanings, tended to sideline issues perceived as being only relevant to women.
Once movements have called public attention to the damage of violence against women—it’s a drain on society, and not just women’s lives—those movements have an “enduring impact through the institutionalization of feminist ideas” about violence.”