Conjugal Relations and Stepchildren’s Wellbeing: Exploring the Experiences of Remarried Women in Bangladesh

Tanzina Choudhury, Sumena Sultana, Suzanne Clisby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Drawing on qualitative research in Sylhet, Bangladesh, this article explores the patterns of conjugal relations of remarried women who have children from previous marriage(s). We are primarily concerned here with the potential impacts of remarriage for women and children’s well-being. Regardless of gendered identity, it continues to be the case that the majority of Bangladeshi people are married only once. However, remarriage and polygamy are not uncommon, and this tends to be particularly the case among people living in poverty. This study is based on ethnographic observation and life history interviews with 12 remarried women from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Drawing on this data, we argue that remarriage can render custodian mothers’ lives more difficult through the complex negotiation between the needs and desires of their new husbands versus the well-being of their children. The sociocultural structure of Bangladesh continues to be framed by specifically located patriarchy. In this context, women’s remarriage challenges normative conjugal relations, and the resulting intrafamilial negotiations can adversely affect both mothers’ and children’s well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1054
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume41
Issue number7
Early online date12 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • remarriage
  • stepchildren
  • Bangladesh
  • patriarchy
  • wellbeing
  • women's experiences

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