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Reporters on the Job

Different Views of Marriage: Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that while reporting today's story about the gender imbalance in Aceh, Indonesia, he found that there was a cultural gap.

"The men I spoke with had very different - and distinctly premodern - notions of marriage. When I asked widowers what it is they missed about their wives, most mentioned the cooking, or complained about how much work it is to clean. Hajji Rusli was one of the few who mentioned how much he loved and missed his wife as a friend," he says.

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But this realization in Aceh that so-called women's work is hard work, did not seem to signal a life-changing reassessment of marital duties, says Scott. "Most of the men said they planned to get married as soon as possible," he says. "One women's activist told me, cynically, that it's probably still cheaper to get married here - even after paying a dowry - than to pay the monthly salary of a maid, even though the work is roughly similar."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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