Women Weigh In On The Changing Face of Marriage In India
"I have not seen any good examples of marriage."
India is a country of youth. 65% of the population is under 35 and more than half of the population is under 25.
This means that new ideals and customs will emerge in the years to come, especially as the rising generation becomes more globally involved.
But change is slow. And social institutions like marriage are staunchly defended.
Marriage in India matters a great deal (just like in nearly every other country), and much of society revolves around traditional marriage structures. Ultimately, this system shapes the contours of the lives women can lead.
More than 90% of marriages that take place in India are arranged. Around 47% of women in the country get married before 18. When women get married in India, they are largely expected to retire to the domestic sphere, ending both their educational and employment prospects. Currently, just 24% of India's women are in the work force, one of the lowest rates in the world.
Plenty of research shows that when women get married later in life, they are more educated and financially secure. Plus, when married women are working, domestic violence goes down, households decisions become fairer and the economy flourishes. This then establishes a more stable environment for children.
Basically, the more independence granted women, the better society fares.
All of these aspects are influencing how young women in India view marriage.
Arranged marriages still reign supreme, but more women are questioning the roles they're expected to play and are demanding more from society. There's nothing inherently wrong about arranged marriages, but there is something inherently wrong about gender inequality.
In the video above, a series of young Indian women talk about what marriage means to them. There's a lot of laughter, skepticism of traditional expectations and a range of opinions.
“I have not seen any good example of marriage," one woman says.
"Nothing is more beautiful than being married and having a big fat family to come back to," another woman adds.
"[Marriage] is kind of irrelevant because if you have a good relationship and you’re committed then what difference does it make if you have a piece of paper?" says a third woman.
But everyone in the video agrees on one thing: when it comes to a woman's marriage, her perspective needs to be valued. In other words, "It's all about you."