The increasing number of women opting to remain single may have resulted from certain factors including better education and economic independence.
Dr Oei Hong-Lim of Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Economics and Administration, said various aspects that might have impacted the lives of single women here were investigated, including the level of education that allowed them to secure good jobs and consequently become independent.
“Being single is increasingly socially accepted, including in traditional societies with little or no history of non-marriage.
“It may not be an exaggeration to say that lately there is a trend of singlehood,” she said in her thesis presentation, ‘Staying Single in Kuching’ at the Sixth International Malaysian Studies Conference (MSC) here.
She said other social and economic circumstances that contributed to the “single women” phenomenon included career, living arrangements and family ties.
Meanwhile, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Faculty of Social Science tutor, Dayang Asmah Awang Hamdan said the idea of marriage and family life acquired by young Malay women were not just drawn from their own family but also through their experiences of education and work.
In her paper entitled ‘Young Malay Women’s Views on Negotiating Marriage and Family in Sarawak’, she said their exposure to the media as well as the influence of religion and government also influenced their views on marriage and motherhood.
She argued that women’s higher education and participation in formal wage labour had an impact on mate selection and their views on sharing of domestic work.
The three-day conference, the flagship of the Malaysian Social Science Association, brings together scholars from Malaysia and abroad for interaction and exchange of views based on their research findings and reflections on the country.
It also analyses issues and problems related to contemporary Malaysia and compares the Malaysian experience with that of various countries in the world, specially Malaysia’s neighbours.
— Bernama BP6/7/08