Apart from the economic wreckage, arranged marriages can also increase, experts say, families seeing these unions as a way to secure the future of their daughters. Since the lockout took effect, major marriage websites in India have reported a 30% increase in new registrations.
In India, marriage does not necessarily result in loss of employment. But it often limits the autonomy of women, which prevents them from leaving isolated villages where the police of their choice are common, patriarchal values are foolproof and job opportunities are scarce.
Rohini Pande, a professor of economics at Yale who studies employment patterns for women in India, said that migrant workers could face enormous difficulties in finding work. Many women struggle to persuade their parents to let them postpone their marriage and leave their village for jobs.
“The pipeline was already extremely tight,” said Ms. Pande, who heads the Yale Center for Economic Growth. “It’s just going to get more waterproof. “
Employment figures for Indian women have been a concern for years.
From 2005 to 2018, the participation of women in work in India fell to 21 percent, from around 32 percent, one of the lowest rates in the world. The rate for men has also dropped – India is experiencing a youth boom and has not been able to create enough new jobs to keep up – but not as much as for women.
Economists provided several explanations for the slide, including a cultural one: as India’s economy grew, families who could afford to keep women at home did so, believing it would give them some status social.