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Participatory Theater Empowers Women: Evidence from India

Karla Hoff (), Jyotsna Jalan and Sattwik Santra

No 9680, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: Domestic violence is common, socially and economically very costly, yet widely accepted in many countries. Can participatory theater—a novel cultural intervention—reduce its occurrence? Through a survey that the authors conducted in 92 villages in West Bengal, India, this paper provides a first large-scale evaluation of participatory theater. By utilizing markers of women’s empowerment, the survey shows that longterm exposure to plays on patriarchy enhances women’s empowerment and reduces spousal abuse by as much as 25 percent. The evidence suggests that such interactive plays, by encouraging its audience to rethink and rescript collective representations of domestic violence and masculinity, trigger durable social change in village communities.

Keywords: Social Cohesion; Gender and Development; Educational Sciences; Social Conflict and Violence; Health Care Services Industry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-06-01
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