Determining Whether Marriage Affects Women's Opportunities Later in Life: Peering into Retrospective Accounts of Middle Aged & Elderly Women

Christie Lauer


The relationship between marriage and women's perspectives of their social and economic mobility is reviewed and analyzed from women's retrospective accounts of past experiences in marriage to understand the impact on outside opportunities.  The information is derived from answers from a sample of middle-aged and elderly women through in-depth qualitative interviews.  Women assess their marriages and opportunities through the lenses of other institutions and factors, such as family, education, religion, and economy.  Women's perceived level of autonomy, choice availability, historical circumstances, internal perceptions of self-efficacy and self worth, perceived level of opposition from valued other, and sense of belonging greatly influence one's perceptions and attainment of outside opportunities.  The results reveal a relationship between marriage and women's perspectives of themselves and their marriages as their understanding of themselves and the world changes according to the social construction of marriage.


Marriage, Women, Opportunities

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