Date of Publication


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Modern Languages and Cultures

First Advisor

Dr. Ismael Souto Rumbo, Assistant Professor


This paper will focus on gender issues in the U.S. and Spain. Spain has a very low domestic violence rate of about 13% in comparison with the rest of the world and especially the U.S. which has a rate of about 36% ( This text explains why there is such a difference by comparing key statistics that track gender issues. The objective is to show that there are policies used in Spain that would benefit the U.S. in reducing its prevalence of domestic violence.

There are certain key factors that explain the prevalence of domestic violence. These factors are history, economics and government. Scholars examine history to find out how it has impacted this issue: are there key events or points in time where treatment of gender issues changed? We examine what the gender norms are and how those norms could contribute to these issues: are women present in the workplace, military, etc. and what are their roles? We look at economics to see how capable a country is to apply an effective policy directed toward gender issues and to see if there is an inherent inequality in the sexes: how dependent are women on men. Is it the other way around? And lastly we observe how the government implements its policies in relation to gender issues: are policies implemented by a central or federal government and does this change the policies? Also, what is public opinion like toward gender issues?

One clear example of a comparison to be made between countries is of the quality, quantity and availability of programs and institutions that try to prevent domestic violence. This paper will also evaluate the programs and institutions that seek to help those people who have been victimized. Programs like these are important because, often enough, victims will return to their abusers if they have no alternative place to go; when they have no money, home or accepting family. Governmental programs that are implemented in each country have a varying 3 degree of effectiveness that can be quantified and altered to further reduce the prevalence of domestic violence. By evaluating these programs we can conclude that certain programs are effective in dealing with domestic violence. This paper will demonstrate that Spain’s gender equality programs, which have been effective in reducing the domestic violence rate could serve to do the same if applied in the U.S.