A Racially Disaggregated Analysis of the Impact of Gender Equality on Rates of Honicide Victimization Defined by the Victim-Offender Relationship

Rachel Bridges Whaley, Oregon Social Learning Center

A recent analysis by Vieraitis and Williams (2000) revealed support for the feminist backlash hypothesis that increased gender equality functions to increase violence against women as a result of increased perceptions of threat to the status quo. They reported a positive effect of gender equality on female homicide victimization in a sample of U.S. cities. Further analysis revealed that the backlash effect held for white female homicide victimization but not black female homicide victimization. In other words, the homicide rate for white women is higher in cities where their relative status is high. The same relationship was not evident for black women. In this paper, I extend that analysis to the study of rates of homicide defined by relationship between the victim and offender. Isuggest that an examination of the impact of gender equality on different forms of homicide (as defined by the victim-offender relationship) may clarify the apparent gender equality -- race interaction. For example, I examine the extent to which the rate of intimate homicide is higher for black women in cities where they are doing better relative to black men. Using data from the Supplementary Homicide Reports, I examine the relationship between gender equality and intimate homicide using racially disaggregated measures of gender equality and homicide. My analyses are based on data for 1990 for a sample of 109 cities. I take steps to allocate missing values for the relationship between the victim and offender that are common in the SHR.

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Updated 05/20/2006