Business Week, in a column on the changing role of women in India says:
• Guilt-free materialism. Fifty-one percent of young single women in major metro areas say it’s necessary to have a big house and big car to be happy. In smaller cities, 86% agreed with this statement.
• Parental ties. Traditionally, parents regarded girls as somebody else’s future property. They arranged marriages for their daughters, and then the daughters would go away and take care of their in-laws, so parents needed and doted on sons.
But today’s young women are rebelling against that. Sixty-seven percent say they plan to take care of their parents into their old age — and that means they need money.
• Marital freedom. Now many women say they’ll marry when ready — not when their parents decide to marry them off. Sixty-five percent say dating is essential, and they also want to become financially independent before they marry. More than three-quarters — 76% — say they want to maintain that independence afterward. Sixty percent say they’ll decide how to spend their own salaries.
What’s more, 76% say they’ll decide when to have children.
• Careerism. A decade ago, most young women saw themselves as housewives. After that, most said they wanted to be teachers or doctors.
A surprising 45% of young single females say they would like to be journalists.
Another 39% say they would like to be managers, 38% are interested in design, and 20% think they want to be teachers. Interestingly, 13% say they would like to be in the military. The percentage of those saying they want to be a full-time housewife was minuscule.
The main point of the article — “the country’s younger generation is shedding submissive attitudes, wants careers, and longs for wealth” — has some truth to it. However, this is true only for a small section of the populace.
Similarly, while there’s been a huge change in the role of women in India over the last decade, let’s not get too carried away. I doubt that the aforementioned “findings” hold true for all younger Indian women.
The entire column is a rehash of a Grey Worldwide survey. Given the number of times their Director, Nisha Singhania is quoted makes my snarky self wonder if Ms Singhania wrote the BW article herself?
Until the late 1990s, the all-too-rare articles about India in Western newspapers & magazines were mostly about one of the following a) the caste system b) bride burning c) communal violence d) natural disasters e) India-Pakistan conflicts f) all of the above. Back then, India wasn’t exactly the land of doom and gloom that those articles represented. Likewise, it’s not (yet) a bastion of gender equality. Things are improving but there’s still a long way to go.