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Spouse selection practices and gender relations within marriage among young people in Tamil Nadu. Findings from the youth in India: situation and needs study

Shireen J. Jejeebhoy, Population Council
Abhishek Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Rajib Acharya, Population Council

Little is known about whether marriages in which youth select their own spouses are characterized by more equitable marital relations than are those in which they are less involved. Using data from Tamil Nadu, India, this paper explores: does self-selection of spouses influence the quality of marital life, in terms of spousal intimacy, gender role attitudes, women’s agency, contraceptive practice or the experience (women)/ perpetration (men) of physical or sexual violence? Data come from a large-scale representative survey of youth transitions. Findings indicate that marriage occurred relatively late and while the majority of youth married a partner chosen by their parents, one in five men and women married a person of their own choice. Preliminary findings suggest several differences in aspects of married life by spouse selection practices; however, patterns are inconsistent and do not uniformly suggest that those who select their spouses independently are better off than other youth.

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Presented in Session 92: Union formation and marriage