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Mason research in Mexico City finds intimate partner violence has negative effects on women’s employment

August 15, 2018

Jhumka Gupta

Intimate partner violence interferes with victims’ physical, reproductive and mental health. But until a recent study led by Jhumka Gupta, assistant professor of global and community health at George Mason University, there was no clear data on how it affected work outcomes.​

Gupta and Mason master of public health student Courtney Harris studied intimate partner violence against women in low-income households in Mexico City and their subsequent work-related disruptions. Their research is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The team found that 40.6 percent of the 947 women ages 18-44 who participated in the study experienced some type of work-related disruption due to intimate partner violence. Work-related disruption could include missing work due to physical pain from injuries as well as shame from visible injuries, the research found. All participants were recruited from 42 participating community health clinics in Mexico City.​

“This was one of the first studies to investigate basic patterns of intimate partner violence and how such patterns relate to women’s work outcomes in a low- or middle-income country, as the existing research on employment and intimate partner violence is mostly U.S.-based,” Gupta said. “The findings of our study highlight the importance of considering women’s safety within work settings and, more broadly, economic development programming.”​

The research also revealed that a great number of women reported earning money through informal sectors, highlighting the need to include those women in outreach efforts regarding intimate partner violence safety planning, resources and prevention interventions. ​

“This study also highlighted how intimate partner violence is an important issue for occupational health and calls for collaboration between different sectors to address this important issue,” Harris said.​

The other study co-authors are from the Yale School of Public Health, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Population Council of Mexico, and the World Health Organization.

Jhumka Gupta can be reached at 703-993-1985 or jgupta4@gmu.edu.

For more information, contact Danielle Hawkins at 703-993-1931 or dhawkin@gmu.edu.

About George Mason

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 36,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.