Exactly how schooling affects young women's 'autonomy', especially with respect to her fertility and the life-chances of her children, is a contested issue. We draw on semi-structured interviews with young married women with at least one child under the age of six, in urban and rural areas of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, north India, to elaborate differences in attitudes and experiences in early married life between young married women with at least eight years of schooling and those with little or no formal schooling. All the women in our sample come from India's most disadvantaged social groups—Scheduled or Other Backward Castes—and live in disadvantaged communities. Tentative conclusions include that women with 10 years or more schooling have very different aspirations about their life partner and married life, and are better able to negotiate relationships with their mother-in-law than do the women with little or no formal schooling experience.
WP08/15. 24 pp.