BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Date of Submission



Dr. Faiza Mushtaq, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


While the practice of early marriage is a common one in South Asia, it is more prevalent in some communities. One of these is the Delhiwala community, which is the center of focus for this study. In addition to a number of other distinct cultural norms, the practice of early marriages of young women and the consequence of incomplete or limited formal education has endured within this community even as times have changed.

Earlier research has shown that in societies where there are clearly identified and demarcated gender roles, constant reinforcement by the family structure and society results in females becoming accustomed to certain norms and practices which shape their thought process and consequently guide their behavior. The decisions made by individuals then follow a certain degree of path dependence and inertness to the norms and culture as dictated by their ancestors. They carry the imprint of the societies in which they occur, thus eliminating any chance at change or progress.

This study explores the motivations and reasons behind the early marriages of females by taking a close look at their upbringing, family structure and society. Simultaneously, it looks at the meaning and importance of education in the lives of these women and whether/how it is affected by the norm of early marriage. By looking at these two broad aspects in the lives of Delhiwala women, the research aims to gain insight into the degree of agency exercised by these young women in such matters. This will help explore whether the decision to marry young and/or forgo education is a result of conscious preference on their part, or is a result of the gendered expectations, the pressure to marry young, and the type of family system one grows up in, or whether it oscillates between the two.



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