Indian educated women
will find it more difficult to get an eligible partner by 2050, particularly if
they have been educated at university or college-level, says a new research.
The research theorises that if current social norms persist by 2050 whereby university-educated or college-educated men are more desirable spouses than women similarly educated, there will be a 'mis-match' in numbers of 'suitable' men and women.
The study, published in the journal 'Demography', involved researchers from the University of Oxford; the Centre for Demographic Studies, Barcelona; and Minnesota Population Centre, USA.
The research also shows a rise in the percentage of unmarried men, particularly among those with little education. A significant proportion of Indian men currently marry women less educated than themselves. The existing data was harmonised on current marriage patterns by age and education and applied these to population projections on the likely age, sex and educational attainment of the population in India by 2050 to develop scenarios for future marriage patterns.
The researchers studied data from the National Family Health Survey, India (2005-06) and the India Socio-Economic Survey (1999, 2004) that show 0.6 percent of all women and 1.2 percent of all men remain unmarried by the age of 50.
By 2050, there will be around 92 men for every 100 women aged 25-29 with a university education, as compared with 151 men for every 100 women from the same age group educated at university in 2010, shows the existing population projection data from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Vienna Institute of Demography.
The findings suggest that if projected marriage patterns were solely focused on the age-sex structure of the future population in India, men rather than women would have a problem finding suitable marriage partners by 2050. However, once education is factored in, the pool of suitable marriage partners for women shrinks - if current eligibility criteria apply to future populations.
"Traditional roles and expectations for women and men in India persist despite the significant social and demographic changes witnessed in recent years. This research shows that the rigid social structure still experienced in India will need to bend so age and education are not barriers to future unions. Otherwise, this research suggests the prospects of marriage for many in the future will diminish, particularly for highly educated women and men with little education," said Lead author Ridhi Kashyap, from the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford.