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India's Changing Gender Attitudes

Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma Email Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma
February 2013
India's Changing Gender Attitudes

How do Indians feel about gender issues? It’s a hot topic, in light of recent events in India. There’s no new data, but one could turn to a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center to gain at least some understanding of how India is evolving. First, the good news. In a sign of changing times, 95 percent of Indians agreed that women should be allowed to work outside their homes. Further, 92 percent supported gender equality for women.

Nevertheless, there are contradictions and challenges, showing that women still have a long way to go. For instance, 84 percent of Indians agree that when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job. This was the highest percentage among the 22 nations Pew surveyed. Also, 63 percent of Indians agreed that a university education is more important for a boy than for a girl. Only 32 percent disagreed. In India, 60 percent of respondents preferred a dual income household, with shared responsibilities for the couple, to a single-income household where the wife stayed home and took care of the family.

In the World Economic Forum’s 2012 global gender gap index, India ranked 105 out of 135 nations. The categories for calculating the gender gap included economic participation and opportunity (rank 123), educational attainment (121), health and survival (134). Ironically, India did better when it came to political empowerment (17).


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