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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A national magazine rates Tennessee’s economic opportunities for women among the nation’s worst — a condition that may be fueling violence against women, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s associate dean of social work said Friday.

Dr. Judith Fiene said factors such as disparity in job pay and employment opportunities between men and women leads some men to think that women are inferior.

“There is evidence that shows men who batter women seek to dominate them because they feel that women are inferior,” Fiene said.

The current issue of George magazine ranks Tennessee the nation’s third worst state for women based on income, political representation and business ownership.

The magazine, published by John F. Kennedy Jr., rates Alabama worst in the nation for women, South Carolina second.

Fiene’s studies of battered women in rural East Tennessee indicate that women who have more job opportunities and other resources are less likely to be battered or to stay with a violent husband.

“Women with more resources are more likely to leave when it (violence) starts happening to them,” Fiene said. “The victims we are more likely to see in social programs for battered women are those who have a lot of barriers to leaving.”

Dr. Judith Fiene (423-974-7504)