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Under this tenure system, an additional wife is an economic asset that helps the family to expand its production.The economist Michèle Tertilt concludes that countries that practice polygyny are less economically stable than those that practice monogamy.The task of felling trees in preparation of new plots is usually done by older boys and very young men.Wives, on the other hand, are solely or primarily responsible for giving birth and rearing children; cultivating, processing and providing food for the family; and for performing domestic duties for the husband.An elderly cultivator, with several wives and likely several young male children, benefits from having a much larger workforce within his household.By the combined efforts of his young sons and young wives, he may gradually expand his cultivation and become more prosperous.A report by the secretariat of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) quotes: "one of the strongest appeals of polygyny to men in Africa is precisely its economic aspect, for a man with several wives commands more land, can produce more food for his household and can achieve a high status due to the wealth which he can command.".
In India it was known to have been practiced during ancient times.) is the most common and accepted form of polygamy, entailing the marriage of a man with several women.Most countries that permit polygamy are Muslim-majority countries in which polygyny is the only form permitted.The status of a mistress is not that of a wife, and any children born of such relationships were and some still are considered illegitimate and subject to legal disadvantage.Throughout the African polygyny belt stretching from Senegal in the west to Tanzania in the east, as many as a third to a half of married women are in polygynous unions, and polygyny is found especially in West Africa.