- Editorial Comments
Two articles are highlighted in this edition of the Journal that address women's autonomy in Ghana and variations in marriage squeeze in India. Both sets of scholars live and work in the Asian and African continents that add to our Journal as we witness a new phenomenon in family studies: emerging scholars outside of North America and Europe.
Kamil Fuseini, Ishmael Kalule-Sabiti, and Charles Lwanga co-author a paper dedicated to understand women's autonomy in household decision making in Ghana. They begin the article by presenting their definition of their topic. Women's autonomy in household decision-making is the capacity of women to contribute to the making decisions regarding daily and major purchases, health care, the number of children they are willing to have and engaging is relationships with family members beyond the household. The authors add that they make these decisions regardless of the opinion of other men and women.
The authors review a range of literature that points to how common are patriarchal ideologies rooted in such religions as Christianity and Islam that provide husbands and wives with guides as to how to act socially. Referring to Ghana, they provide evidence that men, compared to women, have more autonomy in house-hold decision-making. However, they do argue that there is little empirical evidence on the underlying dynamics in household-decision making. Their study builds on the role of institutional structures (religion and culture) and the strategies women engage in the household decisions.
Drawing on 57 interviews of both men and women, the authors discovered that both men and women accept the status quo of the subordinate role of women. However, it is very interesting that women are not very passive in their roles. They do influence decision-making using various techniques such as subtle defiance, cajoling men, 'nagging' and involving 'significant others' when they have a strong feeling about a decision.
The findings of these scholars are very useful for a fuller understanding of feminist literature. I recommend absorbing some of these results.
Vishwakarma, Shekhar, and Yadav's research is in India that offers to the reader many patterns and variations of marriage squeeze. In general terms, it is males who are "squeezed" out of marriage. This is not the case throughout India but is the most dominant theme. The authors' tease out variations of this theme through the lens of region, religion and caste. To unearth these variations, two methodological and statistical programs were used: Schoen's method of two-sex life table and the sex ratio method. Their data came from the 15th round of the census (2011) for males and females who were single by age group. [End Page 289]
Their discovery of variation within the nation was an important finding in adding to our understanding of the marriage squeeze. There exits patterns that vary with religion, caste and region. Regarding religious affiliation, male marriage squeeze was across all affiliations. The greatest was among the Hindus. Muslims scored lower but the other traditions, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists, were equal to that of the Hindus. The same story exists for castes. The various castes are currently experiencing fewer eligible brides compared to grooms.
In reference to regions, all regions there is current marriage squeeze except Nagaland, Manipur, and Odisha. These states have reversed the pattern in relationship to the other states and have a shortage of eligible single males for eligible single females. The authors observed that Nagaland is the only state without a marriage squeeze.
These were some of the first findings. Patterns that are more complex emerge when the authors use the two ways to identify marriage squeeze. Those who have interest in the phenomenon will find that these complex patterns are important in furthering our understanding of it.
Eunha Kim, Yun-Jeong Shin and Jisu Kim, all scholars from South Korea, build on the literature of the conflict between work and family for dual career family units. This literature revolves about work-family conflict (WFC) and, the opposite, family-work conflict (FWC). The authors do well in defining these terms: WFC refers to when work...