Influence of age at marriage and educational level on anxiety level of women

ABSTRACT

This study focuses on the influence of age, education and marriage timing among Israeli-Palestinian women. Theoretical discussions on marriage timing center on the effect of the time women spend in educational institutions on their age at marriage, and on the change in the desirable traits of women in the marriage market. But most of these arguments overlook situations where significant changes in education take place alongside retention of traditional patriarchal values. Based on data from three population censuses – in 1983, 1995 and 2008—our results suggest that staying longer in schooling delays marriage, so women with less education are more likely to marry earlier than others. While young age is still considered an important characteristic in the IsraeliPalestinian marriage market, and women who delay marriage face a greater risk of remaining single, education becomes more important over the years so that postponing marriage becomes especially problematic for low-educated women. Our findings suggest that traditional norms and structural conditions together shape marriage timing.

CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

Education is an important determinant of marriage patterns in developed societies, especially in light of the rise in the level of education. In most industrialized societies it has risen dramatically in recent decades, and in many countries more so for women than for men (Shavit and Blossfeld 1996; Diprete and Buckman 2013). Better education, especially for women, has become one of the most noteworthy triggers of change in women’s marriage patterns. In particular, education is strongly associated with the postponement of marriage to an older age (Cherlin 1992; Oppenheimer 1997).

Numerous studies have examined social factors that can explain the link between education and marriage postponement. Most research has centered on women in Western societies, while traditional contexts have had little scholarly attention. Here we examine the marriage patterns of Palestinian women in Israel and their relation to higher educational attainment. Although the Palestinian population in Israel has undergone demographic, social, and economic changes in the past three decades—most notably in improved education— traditional patterns, especially regarding marital behavior and gender roles, are still preserved(Abu-Baker 2003). Because social change might affect marital behavior, while tradition upholds common practices, theories based on Western societies may not apply.

Our study examines these theories in a context where educational attainment does not always guarantee greater autonomy for women or more egalitarian norms in marital behavior. It has been argued that while Arab women have become more independent through studying and working outside the home, this independence is mainly economic rather than social (Abu-Baker and Azaiza 2010).

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