Gender Differences in Young Adults’ Participation in Choosing Their Spouse within Marriage in Nepal

Inku Subedi, Brown University

This paper examines whether migration experience, education, employment, and household wealth influence men’s and women’s participation in choosing their spouse differently in Nepal using Chitwan Valley Family Study data. I treat decision-making about spousal choice as three distinct non-ordered types of participation arrangement – no- and sole-participation of respondents, and joint-participation of parent and respondent. The combined result of age at marriage, education, and employment indicate that young adults’ ability to make decisions about spouse selection without any input from their parents might not represent higher agency in their decision-making about life choices, as often assumed. Choosing spouse with joint discussion with parents is distinctly different than the process of making sole decisions about their spouse for women. It appears they use their educational achievement as an incentive and tool to discuss a mutually acceptable spouse. Even educated young men with stable salaried jobs still prefer to enter into mutually-approved marriages.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households