Structural violence


Unequal power relations in a society very often work to the detriment of women. Women are disproportionally affected by structural violence and restricted in their development and life opportunities. This includes disadvantages and discriminations against women in working life and a gender pay gap. This means that women in Germany earn an average of 22% less money than men.

Yet other forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence for instance, are also related to structural violence. For women are often still economically dependent on men, for example due to their lower income. This can be a reason why they stay in a violent relationship for a long time. Direct violence is thus always embedded in structural power relations and the social imbalance of power, but structural violence does not automatically entail the use of direct violence as a consequence.

Structural violence does not affect all women to the same extent. Women with disabilities are more affected by structural violence. On the one hand, this is due to the dependencies and discriminations associated with their disabilities, on the other hand it is due to their gender. All the same, women with a low level of education, women with a history of migration, lesbian or bisexual women, transgender or intersexual people experience much more structural violence given their multiple experiences of discrimination.