A Shocking Number Of Women Think Beating Your Wife Is OK

Mar 23, 2015 at 1:13 PM ET

In many of the world’s developing countries, more than half of the women believe it is perfectly acceptable for husbands to beat their wives. The good news is, all it takes to change that is a little education.

The Gates and Clinton foundations released their joint No Ceilings report last week, which looks at the progress made in fostering women’s equality internationally across an array of topics. The 45-page, 905-dataset review includes some fascinating snapshots on attitudes towards women, as leaders, and as humans worth of protection, but also some shocking data on domestic violence.

In Guinea, for example, more than 80 percent of women believe it’s ok for husbands to beat their wives. In the countries with the highest numbers of women who believe it’s ok for husbands to beat their wives, there’s a stark difference between uneducated women and those who have attended even as much as primary school. The more educated a woman is, the less likely she is to accept domestic violence (even if 60 of the 100 countries surveyed have no laws on violence within marriage.

Morocco, Ethiopia and Eritrea, for example, show huge discrepancies in attitude between the women with no education and the number of women with secondary education or higher. In Morocco, the percentage of Moroccan women with no education who believed wife-beating was permissible was as high as 66.1 percent–whereas just 24.5 percent of women with a secondary education or higher believed it was ok. The same was seen in Ethiopia, where 55.6 percent Ethiopian women with no education believe it’s ok for men to hit their spouses, dropping to 15.5 percent of educated women.

The report can be read in full here, and highlights attitudes to women as leaders, laws protecting women in marriage, and highlights the strides in equality where they have been made.