Analytical Blog Post: Gender Roles in India
When looking at the gender norms that are typical in India, we look at traditions that have been culturally significant for some time but also the changes that have been taking place in the last 50 years. As the world evolves, the genders norms that have seen as cemented in Indian culture also evolve. India still does mostly exist as a male dominated culture but there are areas in which this is being transformed. Examples of the male dominated culture is men establishing themselves as the head of the household by simply holding the title of a male, being the breadwinner of the family and having more lucrative higher paying jobs. In the patriarchal Indian culture, simply being a man is enough and has a stronger presence than a woman.
Looking at Indian culture and gender norms we specifically see clear discrimination of women. Women are looked to as a second class citizen next to males and are typically in charge of the household and taking care of the children. This presents an issue because women are not able to represent themselves in areas like politics, the educational system and other roles of power.
Another way in which women are oppressed in Indian culture is within their dress. A study came out in 2014 which had males rate themselves on a “masculinity index” and were then asked questions about their female partner. Part of the study was the fact that 1 in 3 men said that they did not allow their wives to wear the clothing of their choice. Along with this, 66% of men said that they had a greater say over women in their household. Although there has been considerable attempts to take down violence and gender birth preference in India in the past few years, there is still room for redefining policies and views on equality.
Although we see a very strong male presence in Indian life and family life, in the last 20 years we have seen an emergence of strong powerful women who are embracing a more equal life. Now more than ever, women are able to accept jobs outside of the house to be able to contribute financially for their family. While these opportunities were limited in the past, with technological and educational advancements, there is a bigger need for women in the workforce and a personal need to feel empowered and important.
In looking at gender roles in present day India it is essential to look at the differences between people of middle class and high class. Since India bases many beliefs off the idea of the class system, you are able to see that women of middle to high class lives are able to embrace more opportunities like these professions that are heavily male dominated. Since these harsh gender roles have become so ingrained into Indian Culture, it does appear to be a long fight to achieve and establish equality. There are so many subtle nuances like women’s dress which get labeled as a traditional or cultural piece where in turn it might be a tool of oppression. For equality to flourish in Indian culture policies must be changed and a new sense of empowerment and freedom must be restored to women.
Beedy, K. (n.d.). Gender Roles in India. Retrieved December 30, 2016, from http://www.borgenmagazine.com/gender-roles-india/
Gender Equity Issues in India. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2016, from http://www.fsdinternational.org/country/india/weissues
Hays, J. (2015, June). Families and Gender Roles in India. Retrieved December 28, 2016, from http://factsanddetails.com/india/People_and_Life/sub7_3d/entry-4174.html#chapter-8