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February 2002
304 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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Protest, Policy, and the Problem of Violence against Women
A Cross-National Comparison
Weldon, S. Laurel
S. Laurel Weldon provides a comparative study of governmental response to the problem of violence against women in thirty-six democracies. In addition to examining the causes and consequences of the inadeqate public policies dealing with violence against women, she offers practical suggestions about how to improve them.

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S. Laurel Weldon is an assistant professor of political science at Purdue University.
"Captures an array of findings that challenge the conventional wisdom on public policies pertaining to women. . . . This work is innovative and will appeal to scholars across several fields—social policy, comparative politics, international studies, women’s studies, criminal justice, and sociology." —Amy Elman, director of women’s studies and associate co-director of the Center for West European Studies at Kalamazoo College

“In recent decades, women’s movements have mobilized in a range of contexts in order to press for international and national governmental responses to violence against women. Despite the scope of such activity in the public realm, there has been relatively little scholarly analysis of cross-national variations in governmental responses to the problem of violence against women. Laurel Weldon’s study is an important response to this scholarly gap in both the fields of policy studies and of women and politics. . . . will be useful to a wide range of scholars, policymakers and activists interested in a broad comparative perspective on the problem of violence against women.” — Journal of the APSA

“For an unerringly scrupulous crafting of an argument, this study cannot be surpassed. . . . This is an ambitious and meticulous book from which scholars of policy change will profoundly benefit.”—Political Science Quarterly

“[Weldon’s] attempts to bring scientific rigor to a very important, but grossly neglected, policy arena are really quite bold. . . . Weldon’s stimulating book offers something for everyone.” --American Journal of Sociology

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Violence against women is one of the most insidious social ills facing the world today. Yet governmental response is inconsistent, ranging from dismissal to aggressive implementation of policies and programs to combat the problem. In her comparative study of thirty-six democratic governments, Laurel Weldon examines the root causes and consequences of the differences in public policy from Northern Europe to Latin America. She reveals that factors that often influence the development of social policies do not determine policies on violence against women. Neither economic level, religion, region, nor the number of women in government determine governmental responsiveness to this problem. Weldon demonstrates, for example, that Nordic governments take no more action to combat violence against women than Latin American governments, even though the Swedish welfare state is often considered a leader in social policy, particularly with regard to women’s issues. Instead, the presence of independently organized, active women’s movements plays a greater role in placing violence against women on the public agenda. The breadth and scope of governmental response is greatly enhanced by the presence of an office dedicated to promoting women’s status. Weldon closes with practical lessons and insights to improve government action on violence against women and other important issues of social justice and democracy.


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