Women's empowerment is a crucial gender issue and more so in developing countries. Women's empowerment has far-reaching consequences at individual, household, societal and global levels. In this study, the authors focus on the effect of their childhood and pre-marriage conditions on the present level of empowerment in the rural setting in the southern part of India controlling for relevant variables.
This study is based on the primary data collected from 700 women in southern India's villages. The authors used chi-square to understand the bivariate association between the level of women's empowerment and their socio-economic characteristics including their pre-marriage conditions. Further, multiple regression was used to find out the association between her pre-marriage characteristics and empowerment.
The study finds a positive association between mothers' education on their daughters' empowerment. Freedom of movement during childhood also had a positive relationship with the current level of empowerment. The study finds a positive effect of self-esteem and self-efficacy on women's empowerment. The authors also found that property in their names and knowledge about their legal rights were associated with higher empowerment. Other important indicators related to higher women's empowerment are household assets and their employment.
To the best of the authors' knowledge, this study is a unique attempt to study the effect of conditions before marriage on women's empowerment, especially in the Indian context. The study looks into the relationship between childhood conditions of women in a rural set up including their parents' education and jobs, discrimination faced and upbringing conditions and their current level of empowerment.
The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/IJSE-05-2022-0329
This study was funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) - Project No. 02/200/2017-18/RP/Minor. The authors acknowledge the support by ICSSR and Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS) - Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, India.
Banerjee, S., Alok, S., Kumar, R. and Lakhtakia, S. (2022), "Does a woman's life before marriage affect her empowerment level? – Perspective from rural India", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-05-2022-0329
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