The pandemic paradox: Domestic violence and happiness of women

Wajiha Haq, Syed Hassan Raza, Tahir Mahmood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Across the globe, lockdowns have been enforced as a pandemic response to COVID-19. Such lockdown coupled with school closures and stay-athome orders made women more vulnerable in terms of higher responsibility and spending more time with an abusive partner, if any. Methods: This study investigates the situation of women during COVID-19 induced lockdown by focusing on their happiness and inquiring about the incidence of violence. Using the zero-inflated negative binomial model, our findings ascertained that family settings, type of relationship with a spouse, and age significantly affects the positive count of violence during the lockdown. We further estimated the determinants of happiness and found that years of schooling, the role of women in household decision making, and feeling empowered is affecting their happiness. Results: Women having higher education have more odds of zero violence. Unemployed women and women who are not working have higher odds of zero violence as compared to women who are working. During this lockdown after the COVID-19 pandemic, women living in urban areas, having higher education, having an adequate household income to meet the expenditures, having lesser anxiety, not facing violence, feeling empowered when their husband is around, and have higher decision-making power are happier. Discussion and conclusion: The study is important in the context of happiness and violence inflicted on women during the lockdown and provides the basis to improve the pandemic response policy. The inclusion of women's safety and happiness in pandemic response policy is important to ensure the well-being of women and to devise better health and economic policy. Our estimates suggest higher education results in less incidence of violence which could be argued as desirable outcomes for building healthy, productive, and happy communities. In addition to this, as pandemic induced lock-down is likely to result in higher unemployment across the globe including Pakistan, therefore, in light of our estimates pertaining to the role of unemployment in the incidence of violence, policymakers should deploy more resources to enhance income and to combat the rising unemployment. As a counter-intuitive outcome of these policy interventions, incidence of violence will be dampened, educational attainment and women empowerment will be increased which will certainly increase happiness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10472
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Happiness
  • Lockdown
  • Married
  • Violence
  • Women


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