Women’s education and economic empowerment are key measures to promoting gender equality and reducing gender-based violence (GBV) against women, which is one of the indicators of gender equality. Whereas women’s education has been shown to positively impact child’s health, women’s fertility, and women’s participation in civic life and paid jobs, evidence on the relationship between women’s education, economic empowerment, and women’s exposure to GBV is not sufficiently established. Mapping this relationship is important for informing effective gender policies and practices. Hence, this study used the Nigeria demographic and health survey data of 2008, 2013, and 2018 to investigate the direction of the relationship between women’s education, economic empowerment, and exposure to intimate partner or domestic GBV. Feminist and empowerment theories, which this study is anchored in, presuppose that education and economic empowerment could lead to freedom from violence. Findings have demonstrated that women’s education and economic empowerment are not sufficient for protecting women against GBV, especially domestic violence. Women’s education and economic empowerment do not directly reduce women’s GBV victimization. Nigerian women who are unemployed, have little to no education, and lower income experienced the least domestic GBV victimization while women who are more educated than their husbands experienced higher incidence of domestic violence in the years studied within Nigeria. The findings were influenced by patriarchy, culture, religion, media, and the “hidden curriculum” in schools. The study recommends gender education intervention programs that challenge social norms and empower men and women to have equalized power relations from a young age.

Author Biography

Adaobiagu Nnemdi Obiagu (adaobiagu.obiagu@unn.edu.ng) is an educator and a lawyer. She is a lecturer in the Department of Social Science Education, University of Nigeria. She teaches and researches pedagogy and themes of gender, citizenship, human rights, and peace education mainly from critical, decolonial, and transformative perspectives. She has authored and co-authored papers in these research areas.