Gender Differences in Migration, Marital Timing, and Spousal Choice within Marriage in Nepal


This dissertation uses a life course perspective to investigate migration and marriage as separate and inter-related life events. It explores the gendered nature of migration and its determinants, with a particular focus on disentangling marriage-related mobility from premarital migration of young women in the South Asian cultural context. It examines the gender differences in marital timing and decision-making about spousal choice and links these differences to education, employment, and gender norms. This dissertation connects migration to marriage by investigating the timing and sequencing of these two life events. To do so, it uses complex monthly and yearly data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) collected over a 12-year-period at the individual and household level in Western Nepal and uses event history methods. For men, migration temporarily disrupts marriage but increases likelihood of marriage upon return due to accumulation of capital. For women, education is more important than migration in increasing prospects of marriage. Additionally, education influences women’s general mobility but not premarital migration. This indicates that marriage is an important mediator of the relationship between education and migration for women in this context. The combined results of age at marriage, education, and employment on young adults’ spousal choice show that young adults’ sole participation in choosing spouse is not necessarily an expression of higher individual agency as often assumed. The process of choosing spouse with joint discussion with parents (regardless of who primarily introduced the spouse) is distinctly different and preferred process than the process of making sole decisions. While young women may use their educational achievement as an incentive and a tool for discussing their spousal choice with parents to settle on a mutually acceptable spouse who might support her career aspirations, young men do so with their employment prospects. It seems they are interested in legitimizing their marriage through parents’ approval rather than alienating familial support and perceive this as exercising their agency to achieve their marital and career goals. Overall, these results indicate that education and employment influence the process of migration and marriage differently for men and women.
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2014)

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Subedi, Inku, "Gender Differences in Migration, Marital Timing, and Spousal Choice within Marriage in Nepal" (2014). Sociology Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.