Lived Experience of Unmarried Women above the Age of Thirty Living in Addis Ababa City

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Addis Ababa University


This thesis explores the deinstitutionalization of marriage and the experience of women who remain single past the expectant marital age. Being in a matrimonial relationship is deemed an important development and social task. The lack of such relationship often leads to social stigmatization and marginalization. The goal of this research is to investigate the lived experience of women of who remain single past the age of thirty, and to gain an understanding of how gender-based stereotypes influence their lives by examining their personal experiences. In an effort to better understand the stigmatization of today’s single woman, a qualitative method using in-depth interview and focus group discussion was adopted for this study. Twenty-four single women who live in Addis Ababa city were selected using snow ball sampling technique. Women from different social, economic, educational, ethnic & religious background take part in the research. Sixteen women were interviewed individually regarding their experience of being single and eight women participated in focus groups discussed and shared personal stories of how they negotiate their status as a single woman in their everyday interactions with family, friends, co-workers, and other general acquaintances. Pertaining to the major findings of the study the reasons to remain single differ among women. The finding shows that the major reason for women to remain single is “not finding the right person for marriage”. The right person is the one who encompass the ideal characteristics and personality of the perfect person with whom they could consider having a relationship so not finding this person make women to remain unmarried. The research also found out women used different kinds of mechanism to cope the pressure and the stigma they face.