Journal Article

Marriage-related decision-making and young women’s marital relations and agency

There is little research that has explored how marriage arrangements, i.e., family-arranged, semi-arranged marriages with some say in spouse selection and self-arranged marriages, affect young women’s married life in settings traditionally characterised by arranged marriage. Using data from 13,912 married young women aged 15–24 in India, we explore associations between marriage arrangements and young women’s marital relations and agency. Logistic regression analysis shows that women experiencing semi- and self-arranged marriages were more likely than those in family-arranged marriages to communicate and interact with their husband (OR, 1.3–2.8), and exhibit agency in their life (OR, 1.2–2.3); those in semi-arranged marriages were less likely to experience marital violence. These associations were, however, stronger and more consistent among women from southern and western states than in northern and eastern states. Findings call for expanding the discourse on marriage to ensure young people’s right to free and full consent in spouse selection.