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WAHEI & WICID Research Talk: To Delay or Not to Delay - Beyond the Marriage-Education Trade-offs in Secondary Schooling for Young Women in Eastern India

Join us on Tuesday 2nd July 2024 at 12-1 (UK time/4:30-5:30pm IST) in room S1.50 (Social Sciences, University of Warwick) or on Teams, as the WAHEI projectLink opens in a new window in collaboration with WICIDLink opens in a new window host our guest speaker Dr. Manika Bora, Assistant Professor, from O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India. Dr Bora will be talking about her recent research titled

"To delay or not to delay: Beyond the Marriage-Education Trade-offs in Secondary Schooling for Young Women in Eastern India"

This is a hybrid event and registration is required - please register using the form below. Login details will be sent to all online attendees the day before the talk.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Emily Henderson at e.henderson@warwick.ac.uk

Despite the noticeable expansion in educational systems in India in the last two decades, there still exists considerable disparity in access and participation in secondary and higher education levels. Of the many regions that have historically witnessed low educational outcomes is the state of Bihar. Part of the group of states that were disparagingly labelled BIMARU (translated as ‘ailing’ in Hindi) in policy documents, Bihar was often treated as a signifier of the deficiencies and failures of India’s post-colonial development experience. This study is based on fieldwork conducted in two districts in Bihar between December 2015 – June 2016 (see:https://www.theigc.org/collections/womens-empowerment-and-changing-social-norms-persistent-effects-one-time-targeted-kind).

The research was based in a rural agrarian society with adherence to strict gendered norms. Young women are expected to display modesty and respectability upon reaching puberty, and are often married young (in some cases even before attaining legal age). Marrying early often also implies leaving school before completing secondary schooling. In recent years, the government has introduced targeted educational programs and policies intended to support young women and first-generation learners, mostly from oppressed communities, to enrol and complete secondary schooling. Consequently, greater access to secondary schooling has also led to a slow but firm trend of cessation of the practice of early marriage. Invoking Deniz Kandiyoti’s (2005) empirically grounded understanding of patriarchal systems, the paper attempts to problematise the dominant narrative on early marriage that highlights the shrinking of the opportunities and the capabilities set for the young women who are married early. Kandiyoti coined the term ‘patriarchal bargain’ to address the contest, redefining and renegotiation undertaken by men and women for systems with set ‘rules of the game’. The paper uses qualitative data based on semi-structured interviews with young women and their families to understand how their aspirations for social and economic mobility, marriage and education are formed in this crucible of opportunities and constraints.

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