this work emphasizes the need to pay attention to gender in the analysis of violence against women. it is considered that gender is a social construction closely implicated in the way marital violence is culturally experienced. through a brief revision about how differences between men and women have been construed, and the analysis of “gender” conceptualization, a social constructionist perspective on the social and cultural nature of gender is defended. it is further analysed the way how the scientific community and the different theoretical approaches to violence look at the relation between marital violence and gender. in face of the existent controversies and lack of consensus, a cultural approach to the gender/ violence relation is proposed. it is stressed that marital violence and gender can’t be analysed separately: they are interconnected, gender being a part of the cultural context of violence.