The IPSOS Survey is a global survey that examines the society’s attitudes toward the role of women, parenting, and family. This year, the results of the survey for Indian society have put quite a dampener on our ideas of progress and equality for women.
What a Majority of Indians Feel About The MAIN Role of a Woman
As per the survey, the vast majority of Indians, or 64%, feel that the main role of women in society is to become good mothers and wives. They feel that a woman should focus mainly on home; everything else is secondary.
This belief was even more popular among people with religious beliefs, and they strongly supported that we must take on traditional gender roles.
On the face of it, you’ll find many people (including men) supporting a working woman and mother and talking about how they believe in equality. However, they continue to judge and criticise such women if they perceive that their ‘main’ role is taking a hit. Indian women cannot be seen shirking from domestic duties and winning accolades at work.
Parijat Chakraborty, Executive Director, Ipsos Public Affairs, said, "More Indian women are moving out of their homes, seeking employment and carving out a niche for themselves at workplaces, but society sees them more as accomplished mothers and wives in primary role, relegating other roles to secondary positions."
But there is also a strange twist to this overall finding.
We Want Women to Be Super-Human & Do EVERYTHING
Strangely, a contradictory finding has also emerged from the same survey. Yes, many Indian people champion the idea that a woman is mainly a mother and a wife. But as many as 79% Indian respondents feel that women should hold positions of responsibility in government and private sector companies! This means only one thing: Indian men want women to somehow manage both career and the household. But they are not willing to contribute much to either.
Every woman is a superwoman, in a sense. We fulfil so many responsibilities every day, whether as a working woman or a homemaker. While some of us are willing to or able to juggle a career alongside, many of us cannot – especially in the absence of support from our spouses and families. As per the survey, women’s participation in the workplace has actually fallen – from 35% in 1990 to 27% in 2016. What makes the situation worse is that many women now have higher education but do not enter the workforce because of social pressures and household chores.
Why Do We Think Like This?
So, what is the reason behind this thinking? Why are we outwardly feminist and supportive of ‘modern’ or ‘working’ women and inwardly adamant on sticking to traditional gender bias? Many respondents have shared various reasons for their opinion. We have compiled the main ones: 1. Women are inferior to men.
It sounds absurd, but 1 in 5 men and women support this thinking globally. In India, the number is much higher – almost 50% believe men are superior. 2. Women must bear the burden of housework among working couples.
How will she do this if she also has a career to focus on and it causes her to neglect the household chores? 3. Parents must take more responsibilities for the behaviour of their children, and the mother is the one to blame if something goes wrong.
This is a common line of thought in traditional parenting styles. About 72% of Indian respondents felt that there was further scope for parents to improve their children’s behaviour. 4. Women – and men – are afraid to speak up for women’s rights.
This is perhaps the most distressing reason: we are simply too afraid. In India, almost 54% people say they are scared of speaking out among women or showing support to women’s rights. Their fear perhaps stems from being ridiculed (men do not do housework
) or isolated (we don't think like you do
This survey has left us feeling unsettled. While, on one hand, it is a cheerful thought that more men want women to have a career or earn accomplishments outside home, this thought is still chained to an age-old mind-set – women can work outside the house but housework is top priority. As women, most of us hold our roles of a mother and a wife very close to heart. We do our best to fulfil our responsibilities toward our families. But beyond that, we might also have other ambitions, goals and dreams. In our pursuit to be more than what society has laid down for us, we need support and encouragement, not judgement and restriction. Let’s hope the coming times have better tidings for Indian women.
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