What changes for women when they are married? Do they work more or less? Do they earn more? What activities do women spend their time participating in once married? Determining whether being married helps Mexican women or hurts them economically is necessary because women’s wellbeing is frequently overlooked when scholars address economic development. If women can earn more married, then perhaps they are better off married. If women earn more single, perhaps staying single is key in women’s development. On the other hand, women must spend more time working in the home once they are married, reducing the number of hours available for them to work outside the home. If they cannot work as much as their unmarried counterparts, do they have as much opportunity to develop? Regardless of earning power, women forfeit their opportunities in the workplace when they marry because they take on the responsibilities of caring for the house and children. By closely examining the impact that frequently cited factors have on women’s development in juxtaposition with the impact marital status has, this project sheds new light on the importance of marriage for women in Mexico, and may open the door for future research in women’s economic development in other regions of the world.
In general, results suggest that women in Mexico are more likely to work if they are not married. In fact, unmarried women reported working more and making less, regardless of their head of the household status. Unmarried women who are not the heads of the household belong to households that enjoy the greatest annual income. Since these households also consume the most, it is reasonable to conclude that this could be a result of household size and more shared incomes. Unmarried women who are heads of their households consume the least and experience the lowest annual income. Married women, whether they are head of the household or not, enjoy annual incomes that fall between unmarried women’s incomes. They consume more than unmarried heads of households and less than unmarried women who are not heads of households. The results suggests that women who marry work less outside the home but more inside the home while still experiencing a greater annual income than they would if they were unmarried and the heads of their households.