The Relationship between Participation in Community Groups and Attitudes about Marriage and Gender Roles
Meeta S. Pradhan, University of Michigan
This paper examines the relationship between non-family experiences and attitudes related to marriage and gender roles. The analysis uses the theoretical framework of ideational influences, particularly development idealism and the family mode of social organization. The study uses life histories and individual survey data from Nepal to explore the association between participation in community groups and attitudes toward early marriages for girls, widow remarriage, daughter-in-law obedience to mothers-in-law, and husbands making most of the decisions in the household. The results reveal a strong relationship between group participation experiences and attitudes, while controlling for individual characteristics, new experiences of the respondents and their childhood community context. In general, non-family experiences with community groups have the potential to reach essential services to the community and to influence attitudes and behaviors of men and women. Though the current research utilizes cross-sectional data, future panel studies have the potential to contribute towards important causal analysis.