Gender Scripts and Age at Marriage in India

Sonalde B. Desai, University of Maryland
Lester Andrist, University of Maryland

While it has been long recognized in the feminist discourse that marriage is one of the key institutional sites for production and reproduction of hierarchical gender relations, demographic literature on marriage patterns in developing countries has rarely explored this insight. This deficiency can be attributed to conceptual shortcomings as well as difficulties in obtaining appropriate data. This paper uses data from the India Human Development Survey, collected in 2005 for over 40,000 households around the country, to explore ways in which gender scripts regarding valuation of women's modesty and separation of male and female sphere shapes the decisions regarding age at marriage across different regions and different social classes.

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Presented in Session 151: Gender and Reproduction