Decision Making Power Among Married and Unmarried Women

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© Kamla-Raj 2008

Stud. Home Comm. Sci., 2(1): 43-50 (2008)

An Analysis of Decision-Making Power among Married and Unmarried Women Muzamil Jan* and Shubeena Akhtar Extension and Communication, Institute of Home Science, University of Kashmir, Jamia Masjid, Wahab Sahab, Srinagar 190 002, Jammu and Kashmir, India * Mobile: 9419747179, *E-mail: muzamil_research@mail.com KEYWORDS Women. Decision-Making Power. Fertility. Children and Empowerment ABSTRACT Decision making process is generally influenced by the level of knowledge. Women are the integral part of family and vital force in the socio-economic progress. The present study is undertaken to analyse the Decision-Making Power among married and unmarried women. Scale regarding ‘Decision Making Power among Women’ constructed by Jan (2004) was used on 100 women, selected through multi-stage sampling method. The paper reveals that there is no significant differences between married and unmarried women regarding their decision making power. However, highly significant differences are observed, between married and unmarried women, related to their empowerment. Women generally possess low decision making power and are mainly dependent on masculine and/or familial decision making.

INTRODUCTION Women play a crucial role in the economic welfare of the family. Women perform different tasks depending on their Socio-economic structure, number of people in the family, the nature of professions they are involved in and many other factors (Reddy and Narayan 1987). Decisions made in home management ranges in importance from major once in a lifetime. For example, choice of a marriage partner is indeed an important decision and not to be taken lightly, but it is only in fairy tales that they live happily ever after (Knoll 1973). In the upper income groups, the type of home and the duties of women may vary greatly in the conservative or traditional home and in the modern home (Megha 1990). The authoritarian character of the traditional joint family entails decision making powers concentrated, in the position of the eldest male members (Rao 1982). Women are traditionally less involved in decision making at all levels. Their important role is not recognised and, therefore, still not accepted in decision-making. The share of women in community decision-making structure is still very low and their participation is mostly stressed by political parties, more as elements of their own publicity and proof of democratisation, than as a real interest and need. For example, only 3 per cent women are members of political parties. They are also less active in professional associations and bodies (Slovenia 1998). Without the active participation of women and incorporation of women’s perspectives

at all levels of decision making, the goals of equality development and peace cannot be achieved (Karl 1995). Review of Literature Lancuster (1965) conducted study on ten wives who had not attended college. Several women expressed or gave evidence of uncertainty in relation to their decision making. Families are more likely to report satisfactory than unsatisfactory decisions. This may be due to pride to accepting the consequences with good grace, to rationalization of the alternative chosen or to the fact that people frequently make new decisions to offset the unpleasant consequences of the unsatisfactory decision. According to Mumtaz (1982) there are various family matters on which men generally take decisions. Women are quite often not even consulted. This is because of the feeling among men that women are incapable of expressing their decisions, due to illiteracy among them. It would mean if women are educated they would acquire the capacity to participate in decision making. Singh (1992) conducted a study on modernity and decision making in upbringing of the children, and the study revealed that 69.5 per cent of the respondents of all categories expressed that both husband and wife should take...
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