This study uses the 2000 and 2005 Ethiopia Demographic Health Surveys to explore inter-cohort changes in women’s age at first sexual intercourse, marriage, and first birth; and to link those changes to theories of role competition, human capital, and social dislocation. We find that in Ethiopia, higher education is associated with a delay in marriage and childbearing, as well as a delay in the onset of sexual activity. While the likelihood of intercourse prior to marriage is increasing among more recent cohorts of women, sexual initiation remains closely linked with marriage. Approximately two-thirds of women who have first sex before marriage enter into marriage within one year. We suggest that the central importance of marriage for providing women with social recognition, economic security, and social honor is essential for understanding the relationship between education and premarital sexual behavior in Ethiopian society.
David P. LINDSTROM, Professor of Sociology, Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA. Corresponding author, e-mail: David_Lindstrom@brown.edu
Gebre-Egziabher KIROS, Associate Professor of Public Health, Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
Dennis HOGAN, Professor of Sociology, Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.
- DOI: 10.4402/genus-20
Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54