Single…is it true that women are marrying less often? well in response to that the likely single woman who comes to mind is going to be the urban professional middle class or lower middle class upper-class women. What we forget is, women tend to have different type of marriages across classes and communities. Which actually means that you could be single or married or married more than once without a divorce… Depending upon the kind of community were in for the kind of class community interaction that determines your life outcomes. the kind of underrepresented groups in mainstream media of single women tends to be the women from rural backgrounds women who run farms, who actually suffer a lot due to the out-migration that happens from villages. We tend to presume that because of the rural, traditional, agricultural, underdeveloped, etc. contexts …and we could go on… these women are not likely to be liberated or empowered women for whom being single might be a choice, we think. And I agree choice here is not really an appropriate word because if you have followed this blog you know we don’t believe choices are as simple as you want to do this at a certain point of time or not. Instead they’re most likely to be outcomes of the overlapping and many contexts that we all live our lives in. But a few days ago there was this article in the Hindu, which dogged about the Iberian single women and their distress and limited access to livelihood and services. The whole issue of right to life is debated, in the absence of data on exactly how single women live their lives. if you ever talk to the women who come into your homes [if you’re living in India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka and have access to what we used to call servants and are called the household help in our more developed counterparts], you will be surprised to know that often women have to keep on reorganizing their household because being abandoned by the current spouse is a common phenomena. And for women who live in these temporary communities, consisting of migrants from rural to urban areas, the maintenance of a household, the safety and security of their children, their own lives and dignity, and property requires that they always have a male member in the house, who gets to be their spouse. The debate on being single just like the debate on being married needs to expand and include the different dimensions of being single or being married in the differential contexts and the norms and the values of the society as we know it needs to be kind of questions not because you’re proposing new norms but because we want to have an idea of all the possible norms and values there are, and how they create a completely different picture from what a mainstream understanding of social values would have you believe. So next time someone says to you- are you single, pleased do respond to that question with your other demographics and not just of age and professional qualifications but also your context and your dispositions… You never know you might have one less uninformed person asking you the redundant question – are you single?