The Role of Women in Indian Society

Shy smile of a bride in a Hindu wedding by kunjan detroja


Shy smile of a bride in a Hindu wedding by kunjan detroja
Shy smile of a bride in a Hindu wedding by kunjan detroja

As a woman in Indian society, I find that the world is changing a lot in terms of acceptance of the many roles of women as professionals, as bread-earners in families and as independent thinking individuals. The traditional Indian woman has evolved to prove herself equal in many professions as well as proved better suited than men in others. The situation for the changing role of women is improving fast.

On the other hand, female foeticide, dowry deaths and domestic abuse provide a macabre background of primitive barbarism. In the typical Indian Society, you find that there are still expectations and assumptions about women that are not so much relevant to their current status, but a clear hangover from our supressive past. This may be more obvious with traditional women or women in rural societies, but it is extremely prevalent in urban ones as well.

I am speaking of “running the home” kind of stuff. Regardless of how hard the man and woman of the house work, when it comes to women and society, there are certain areas of the home that are the woman’s province in happy times and her nemesis in not so happy times.

“As the woman of the house, you should….” is a familiar refrain for most women in India.” Indian Women’s clothing is another externally imposed recommendation backed by vicious judgments. A pregnant woman is a public drop box for intrusive recommendations. I think, it is high time that we as citizens of modern India took a good hard look at our automatic assumptions and investigated which among these are still applicable today, and which ones we simply need to let go.

Typical situations we see include the woman bringing a cup of hot tea for her man returning from work, or the woman returning home after her husband and heading straight to the kitchen to cook dinner, and so on.

On an average, in any home where women are working, their income is also important to the well-being of the home and the living standards. Where it is not a question of money, it is generally possible to employ someone for the work in the house. So when we speak of a traditional role of a woman being responsible for the efficient running of her home, it is something we need to be aware of as an additional expectation made from her.

The traditional role of a man has been the one of earning the money for the running of the home. This has changed to a great extent. Working women contribute to the expenses of running their homes as well. However, there has been little contribution from men in terms of shouldering some of the responsibilities of women.

One interesting insight I received into this was from a friend. He said, “See, women find the outside world challenging and attractive. They like the freedom it brings to them. So they enter the world. There is no reason for a man to find the women’s traditional role appealing, so he doesn’t. No one has forced the women to step into the man’s role, and no one should force the men to step into a woman’s role”.

[bctt tweet=”There is no reason for a man to find the women’s traditional role appealing, so he doesn’t.”]

On the surface, this seems to strike sense. However, the flaw lies in an assumption of curent roles that are the same as traditional roles and that the women are entering “a man’s territory”. This simply doesn’t hold true in most cases today. Women are educated and often have their careers well before they get married and it is as much their right as the man’s work is his. However, the other part, where the men don’t find the house work appealing enough to invest effort in still holds true.

This is something that needs to be taken an honest assessment of. If we abandon the traditional perspective of division of responsibilities inside and outside the home (since it has already been broken in the outside the home area), we come to a situation where the couple are both inhabiting a home and earning and contrubuting toward its running. What we need to find is a sharing of responsibilities inside the home as well, that allows both some dignity.

This would also help resolve many situations where a man feels threatened by a working woman. Why wouldn’t he. She earns, she spends, she invests, and on top of that, she is independent in terms of being able to manage her own existence completely, including running of her own home.

[bctt tweet=”It does not empower men to be left incapable of managing the home they live in.”]

There is no point pushing the women down. What needs to happen is the removal of the “un-machoness” associated with responsibilities at home and recognise it as the actions of a responsible and independent individual, whether male or female. This would actually add some power to the increasingly “lazy” image of men among women and empower them with some self-respect, while empowering the women with acceptance and support from the one source that matters the most.

Please not that I am not speaking of every man out here. There are many couples who are already on this journey and find themselves comfortable both inside and outside the home, and the mutual respect and closeness can be seen a mile off in such couples.

I sincerely think that this is an important adaption that is the need of today’s times.

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70 thoughts on “The Role of Women in Indian Society”

  1. What is the role of women actually? The nature of the role of women in society is a giving one. Be it in the form of mother, sister, daughter wife or companion or even as a job employee whether social or corporate. Like teachers, doctors, nurse, social workers or educators …… What is the role of a mother?
    Caring and giving at all situation independent of anybody’s help… What would a frustrated mother be to he children!… Who cant even wait for her child even though she might have the opportunity to do so… I am speaking of less socially responsible job holding mothers who can very well sacrifice her duties as an employee to become what a mother should be… The would never know their roles if the society does not take severe action. Make it compulsory to serve their children lunch with their own hands for making them a giving mother nurturing giving children…Imagine a situation a child taken away from the mother or the father as the legal custody lies with the other side….All will say a loss of mother is difficult to compensate…Again children need more time with mothers…Mothers who can very well provide that but not doing so,instead relying on caretakers, is not it a shame….

  2. Amit Divakar Ranade

    We were a small family, mom, dad, my elder bro and I. My dad was a plumber, an asthma patient all his life and my late mother was a government servant. Dad shouldered a fair share of homemaking. Like making tea in the morning, taking me to school on his Hero Hercules bicycle (which later he taught me to ride), cleaning the kitchen platform after my mom went to her job, packing my school lunch box, serving me and my lazy elder bro meals, ironing my school uniform, tying my shoelaces, making a snack in the evening, buying milk and veggies and listening to my mom’s take on office politics, defending me when I scored less in school exams and mediating in my brawls with my lazy bro. On weekends he also helped mom in housekeeping especially hitting cockroaches, lizards, moving the heavy cylinder, cleaning the loft etc. He did all that voluntarily and mom appreciated his help. But he never missed his favorite curd and sugar with chapatti and a prayer to Lord Krishna. I’ve inherited all that from my ‘great dad’.

  3. The comments on here are bizarre. I’ve never been a fan of Indian men – I find them hostile, immature, and egotistical. Like little bullies. I hope Indian women can feel comfortable in expecting their husbands 50% cooperation, or they will leave their marriage. Women need men for companionship and to father children, but not for any other reason. Wise up you fools.

  4. Hi,

    The above article is so much true n real fact. I want to share something regarding this matter.
    Although we all say that the present scenario about women have changed a lot, but in reality, still the Bengali people deeply follow the old traditions and rituals in every aspect of life, which sometimes cause hindrances.

    I am a well educated women and belong from a established nuclear upper middle class family. m working in IT industry rite now. Due to my easy travel communication, i stay nearby my office area. Regarding matrimonial matter, till now whatever proposals i have got, the grooms family are not accepting this matter that after marriage, i need to stay in my own home during my working days fr my easy communication, as because the grrom’s house are far distance from my office location.This is a very small issue i think, but a problamatic issue for the groom’s family.
    It seems that we are still in that mideival period.. People are not in a way to listen and negotiate any matter, they just follow the old rules and customs. This kind of thoughts need to be changed sharp, for the welfare of all women.

    Thank You.

    1. We made this film in 2012

      As we have been working in the media industry for last 13 years, we were seeing a rise in objectification in all forms of media.The contradiction between the filmi and the real world becomes particularly troubling in light of the Indian treatment of gender. India was recently ranked the worst G20 nation for women, with infanticide, child marriage, dowry deaths and ritualized violence forming an incredibly toxic environment to live in. The sex ratio is noticeably skewed towards men in almost every state; even today, girls are considered burdens to the family. The film went viral and has started a lot of discussion around the world.

      We thought this issue needs a more researched and holistic point of view from experts, scholars and general public, so we are planning a full fledged documentary. We will address the 2 major influencer of a society. 1. Religion / Culture / History 2. Media and how it has affected the modern Indian Society and the position of Women. After reading your comment, thought it would be great if you can this in a video interview for the documentary. If you are ok , you can mail us on

  5. bloody indians .always seeing cricket.they only in our world getting entertain of fellow indian see israel if any attack occured in their territory immediately would retaliate.they are cult people. indians are slowly lossing war against islamic militants.they only bow to seems all indian politicians are ready to sacrifice their citizens to terrorists for their safety and luxurious life. no self respect.what the good indians they are. aren’t they?

    Read more at:

  6. I will not read this article but the topic verse women are Rock but some sutiuation they are dominating.

    Hi FrndZ…….
    i will read everyone comments very well lines.

  7. man is dog, man is root cause of this problem of women, men are daemon, men are egoistic, men are always at fault.
    women are devis, all the women are compassionate, we should free mayawati,jayalalita, kanimozhi,barkha dutt, neera radia etc all of charges – as they are women- they must not be guiltypoor women – husband torture themthe insecurity feud between mother in law and daughter in law – again men are responsible – because as they are women – they are pure, innocent – how can they be guilty.women forcing young boy children to bathe nude in front of clothed same-age female siblings – again that boy is responsible, as he has no modesty.
    overwhelmingly female teachers shaping up the future male generations in school without any clue to male child psychology – again male child is responsible
    male colleagues having sexual relationships with junior colleagues are bad, as being junior she must be disadvantaged, this can not be consensual at any cost. If after 5 years that female colleague says that we had forced thing, then she must be right, female can never mentally force a man to have relationship. 
    but lindsay lohan (hollywod actess) having sex with male waitor at hotel – again that male waitor is bad.
    esp. bengali girls are never mad to have sex.
    all males should be put behind bars through frivolous acts of 498a, sexual harassment bills and what not. They are dogs who deserve this, what a lifeless- egoistic bunch of morons men are.
    — END of summary of all these blogs of vidyut and other great intellectuals, with no faults committed in their life and hence equivalent to pure Gods.

  8. according to me woman are better than man why?
     because woman is always servive but man always showing their monopoly
    woman knou their limitation but man dont want to know his limitation

    ashish kumar mandal

  9. The article is good. We need togive women more freedom to contribute creatively to our society. We need to give up all role models of women and mothers. On the other hand there could be a substitute for a home-maker. Her contribution must be acknowledged for the growth of a family.

  10. the article is good. it is quite right that both man n woman r working at both in n outof the home happily

  11. Agree in very large parts. Though the assumption that the western world do not face similar challenges is misconceived – They have very similar issues. There could be a difference in magnitude. Socially (more so in India – given in many ways this is the first at best second generation of working women as a rule) both man and woman have to learn to live in the new world. For the man to accept (happily) a more independent and decisive woman and the for woman to use her new found power more constructively.
    Nice piece

  12. You have written on what sort of situation you would like to have in a general sense on man woman staus in a house.But you have not elaborated on what all aspects woman feel deprived in a house and how the situation can improve by doing what exactly by members of the family.How woman can achieve equal status and role to be elaborated

  13. Liberationtheology

    In the West where young men move out of their parent’s home by age 20 and live on their own they learn to clean house and cook.  Nobody else is going to do it for them.  Indian men don’t see value in keeping house because they’ve never had to do it because they live at home with their parents through all ages, and of course have house servants as well.  Let them move out, get their own place and learn some independence and you will find that when they get married, they will know how to do all house chores and they will do them.

  14. this page knew abt women …………womens always rockzzzzzz and this was really useful for my speech abt role of women thanks !

  15. @Shashank and Dinesh
    True. The position of women is poor in Indian villages. What I am saying is that under all the shine, it isn’t much different in the cities. Sure, they have more opportunities, freedom, better clothes, etc. But at the bottom of it all, they have to toe the society line. A line that was never designed to acknowledge their contribution – not in the villages, not in the cities.

  16. Shashank n dinesh

    We r nt satisfied frm dis discription.
    Coz d actual position of womens is so poor still in indian villeges.

  17. unbeliveble………………u r saying all the truth……..i have learned about ur views.this content is excellent…………..carry on…

  18. I think men and women both are equal only that each one has to do his own duty and not interfere with the others….this essay is well written……

  19. thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!i am a student. my teacher gives this topic for my presentation so this page helps me a lot.thanks again

  20. I possibly would not have contemplated this was beneficial two or three months ago, yet it’s fascinating how age evolves the way you respond to stuff, many thanks for the weblog article it really is great to see anything sensible now rather than the conventional rubbish masquerading as blogs and forums around the net. Regards

  21. WOW!!

    You should write in our daily newspaper, trust me, this is not India..and differences between men and women are still the same although responibilities higher, but we still think it will change. You girls would be surprised how similar are things in other western countries although it is subtle we can feel it in our day to day..

    bravo from uk

  22. Hey what’s up?

    This is like my morning coffee, I mean your website, I’ve been an ignorant on so many topics but thanks to you I learned much. Umbeliveble how I believe something and then I discover that the reality is totally different. Your articles are great to say the least. I love, love, love your blog! I love the way you write your articles by the way, you’ve done an excellent job with your website!


  23. Dipak Kumar Adhikari

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    We got Married 05/03/2002, and have a daughter born 09/07/2005. My wife and she’s family given me 498a/34 IPC, FIR NO.276, date 31/08/2009, P.S.: BAGUIATI, it’s not true case, believe me. My wife are engaged/Affair with a boy (Sandip Samanta, S/O. Shankar Kumar Samanta S.B.I. Manager) his house front of my house, all the matters are know every person in my village, and also they given me written about my character. When my wife goes outside form my house near about many vory gold and cash 1.20 lack Indian rupees taken. Not taken my daughter, daughter is now in my house. My wife doing the 498a case’s date 31/08/2009 and I arrest 06/09/2009, court give me bail at 19/09/2009 my 1st court date is 16/10/2009 done. 2nd court date is 04/01/2010 done. Next court date is 07/07/2010 at Barasat court. Some proof (20 pcs. s.m.s., picture with the boy and a c.d.) has me about my wife and the boy that they are in illegal relation. Believe me I and my family love much more to my wife. They (My wife family) are very very poor and live in a bosti Address: 70/H/8 Manicktolla Main Road, Kolkata – 700054, Beside 5 Star Club, my mother see 1st time and she arrange my marriage, and Mother told me they are very poor so what? After marriage she is my family member, believe me not a single word is wrong. Before marriage my family not see my wife’s family, now we understand/also see that she’s family are very bad. My wife, she’s family and the boy they are misusing this law. Now my wife’s family understands all the affair matter. But my wife still now not agree she wants to marry to the boy. My wife left our only solitary daughter to me who is 4 years old having severe “Ashtama Disease, depends on INHEALER, here political Hide & seek game is going on & the father of the parents (THE FATHER OF THE BOY WHO HAS ILLICIT RELATIONS WITH MY WIFE) are rich, so they are spending money to everywhere with a view to be escaped. Now I decided that I’m not taken back my wife. I take a lawyer his name Mr. Kamelash Nandi. I don’t know what happened next? Now I went to punishment the boy. If possible please help me. Please investigate the matter and relief/save me and my family. And . My wife given me U/s. 125 Cr. P. C. Case NO.167/2009, date 16/12/2009. 1st Class Judicial Magistrate at Sealdah. 1st court date is 15/01/2010 done, 2nd court date is 12/02/2010.
    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Dear friend’s, actually I’m 100 percent victim, so I went to knowing my matter all the Indian and others. I write my matter to our local P.S., Local Councilor, all M.P., M.L.A., Minister in W.B, C.M. in W.B., CBI in W.B, CID in W.B, Governor in W.B, and President in India. P.M. in India, Human rights department, AAP KI KACHEHRI – KIRAN KE SAATH, Kolkata Police, my nation, all of the news channels, and all press, and many more, absolutely you also, But nobody help me, I think you can help me, so I write to you. I’m Punishment + harassment Without Crime.

    With kindest regards,
    Dipak Kumar Adhikari
    Tegharia(Dhali Para),NandanKanan. P.S.: Baguiati.
    P.O. Hatiara. Kolkata-700059 Email: PH. 9836149983
    W.B. India.

  24. it is very nice explanation about women in indian soceity i got use from this site that is in my school they gave this topic for english elocation competetion and i got first price in school and third price in district level and i got the special price of best expression explainer title from district collector

  25. Women in villages and small cities also of India have wonderful potentials to bring excellance in every walk of life. Their will power, spiritual power, physical power and courage are amazing. Now they require power of technical know-how to hoist Indian Tricolour on the World horizon.

  26. I would say excellent for what i have read about the women above!
    We should have more of these type of information s and websites specially for women. We women have to prove that we can do and work as like a man does. We should show our courage and braveness towards the nation. We should stop being hiding from men and come up with our ideas.

  27. i don’t know what to say………..some of you have written…. go women or excellent work or the writer’s having courage to speak truth……
    simply no offence guys……….but this article isn’t about courage or excellent writing skills………its really about attitude,closeness and mutual respect………best thing ……. try n understand what writer’s saying.

  28. Excellant, you have the courage to say the truth. Women must know their rights at home as well at work place.
    Keep it up.

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