Gender Attitudes among “Involuntary” Bachelors and Married Men in Disadvantaged and High Sex Ratio Settings : - A Study in Rural Shaanxi, China
Summary, in English
Compared to class relations, gender relations in high sex ratio contexts are understudied. Drawing on data from a survey conducted in rural southern Shaanxi, China, in 2014–2015, this article aims to assess if the section of the never-married male population who wishes to marry but face difficulties in achieving this goal is more or less gender equal in their attitudes than married men and, if so, in what aspects. Results provide further evidence that the role of the husband as the main economic support of the family and that of the wife, centered on the domestic sphere, remain firmly rooted in attitudes. However, the same results indicate that men who are squeezed out of marriage are not only the least endowed in socioeconomic capital but are also more likely than married men to confine women to their roles as wives and mothers; the “involuntary” bachelors report more conservative gender attitudes than their married counterparts mainly because they are less educated, more conservative with respect to other norms, and not exposed to marital life. All things being equal, marriage tends to make men more gender equal. In parallel, the involuntary bachelors make more demands on women’s economic contribution to the household; this sheds light on the stratifying effect of marriage as the marriage-squeezed men seek to escape poverty through marriage.