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This paper examines the relation between women’s empowerment in India and the risk of violence. It starts by situating women’s exposure to violence in the context of a gradual growth in female mobilization and freedom-from-violence rights, yet recognises that this is happening in the context of unfavourable social norms. The two conflicting trends produce a paradox that runs through the paper: women’s empowerment has at times also resulted in greater risks of violence and harassment.

This paper provides statistical data and evaluation reports from government and civil society interventions. Its secondary data comes from a series of interviews with government officials, academics, journalists and activists.

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