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Marriages in rural India: concepts, beliefs and experiences

Sudeshna Ghosh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Newly married women in India are, by and large, adolescent. Marriage brings dramatic changes to their lives that involve their bodies, emotions and daily life experiences. The paper examines aspects of marital union in the rural set-up, decision-making power among young women regarding their own marriage, their experience after entering new familial set-up and their adjustment mechanism. The study involves 654 married women aged 13-24 years in rural West Bengal, India, employing multi-stage sampling procedure. Majority of the respondents know the right age at marriage but fail to state reason. The study shows the high number of arrange marriage where the women have no say. Almost one-third of the respondents reported to face problem for not being experienced to perform household chores, not paying the dowry items or pregnancy related. The coping strategy reflects their helplessness like crying, get tensed up, and silently pray till the things get better.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Poster Session 2: fertility, family and children