Elizabeth Flock

Journalist and author ELIZABETH FLOCK PRESENTS… “WOMEN IN MARRIAGE: Changing norms and power dynamics around the world”


Flock focuses on women’s issues with a focus on love, sex and marriage. From North America to Asia, her work examines the cultural shifts that are upending the institution of marriage around the world.

Marital norms are changing. Power dynamics among couples are changing. Women themselves are changing, and as they are, they are re-negotiating and redefining what relationships look like. In America, we know that women are choosing to marry later, work more, and have less children. They are watching more pornography, using technology more often to find love, and asking more of their spouses in terms of participation in household duties. They are divorcing more but — if they stay married — staying married longer. They are engaging in more open marriages, or choosing not to marry at all. There are more unhappy marriages overall, but the ones that are happy are happier than ever before.

Marrying for love, though, is a relatively recent development. Only 150-200 years ago, the majority of people, including in the West, married to bring families together, for economic stability, or under strong parental influence.

Flock examines how marrying for love has changed and continues to change in the West, but also how other kinds of unions continue to persist around the world. In Asia, more women today are choosing hybrid love-arranged marriages, where women ultimately choose their partner but others play a direct role in the process. As tradition collides with Western culture in India, for example, more women are working outside the home, watching porn, and initiating divorce. More Indian women now expect companionship from their marriage, which can clash when many husbands continue to see their role as solely financial support. Add the layers of religious and ethnic change, as well as pop culture and technology, and the institution of marriage in India, as in America, is being upended every day.

Flock’s work examines the universal challenges, possibilities and promise of matrimony in its present state — and the lessons that can be learned about the institution by examining it across cultures.


Flock is a reporter for PBS NewsHour and the author of the book “The Heart is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai,” about marriage in contemporary India. Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Al Jazeera and Vice.

In a starred review of “The Heart is a Shifting Sea,” Publishers Weekly writes that she approaches her study of marriage “as a reporter, not a storyteller,” providing “a vivid portrait of a nation in transition,” while Peggy Orenstein, author of “Girls and Sex,” writes that her work “is an intimate look at life in India, yet its intricately reported, novelistic portraits of marriage will resonate regardless of where you live.”

Exclusive Lecture Representation

WATCH: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/in-the-heart-is-a-shifting-sea-indian-couples-navigate-domestic-squalls-and-rapid-change