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Indian Society: First priority for women should be the role of parenting and family.

organization, psychology, society, women / Social /

Some study suggests, that the role of women in India is changing from homemaker to corporate owners. The structure of workforce has too changed as more and more women are encouraged to workplace. (1) (2) (3) According to WEF report there are only 9 percent of female participation in ownership within Indian firms. (3) The impact of society also influence woman to contribute within the workforce. Most of the times for women, our society increases the burden. (4)

According to some study, the position for middle class Indian women are worse. Situations like low financial independence, discouraging in decision making process, expectations of multiple responsibilities, family status, harassment at work place etc. (5) restrict women’s participation in revolving around home. Also, study suggest that around 46 percent of women works at entry/bottom level position but none or less than few of them make to top level management. (6)

According to International Labour organization (ILO), as the Indian economy grew, the female participation in workforce declined from 35 percent to 25 percent between 2004 to 2012. (7) The number of women quits the job in this period is around 19.6 million. (8) Today at least around 70 percent mangers and leaders are male in organizations, (9) as a result the viewpoint of men against women’s role as workplace contributors are important.

Shockingly a study by Ipsos Global Trends Survey 2017 reveals that around 64 percent of Indian thinks that the main job of women is to be good mother and wives. Apart from women working outside home, society views women as accomplished mother and wives in a primary role. (10) (11) In India culture play an important role in long encourage early marriage which results around 76.7 percent of Indian working women are married. (12) Not only Indians, four in ten Americans too believe that women’s role is as mother and wives. (13)

A study was conducted from the sample of 637 respondents from urban (Kolkata), semi-urban (Hooghly and South 24 Parganas) and rural (Bardhaman and South 24 Parganas district) population in West Bengal. They were asked to provide their opinion on whether they think that the first priority for women should be the role of parenting, and family. The respondents were within the age group of 25 – 50 years and middle class (family income Rs.10,000 to Rs.35,000 monthly) from 20th July – 9th Aug. 2017. The following shows the distribution of data:

No of respondents

Respondent in percent













Table 1: Distribution of respondents based on urban, sub-urban and rural.

Diagram 1: Distribution of respondents based on urban, sub-urban and rural.

Below are the results received from 637 respondents:

Out of 637 respondents, 205 or 32.18 percent are from Urban (Kolkata). Out of 205 respondents 179 or 87.32 percent have agreed and 24 or 11.71 percent have disagreed that the first priority for women should be the role of parenting, and family. Rest 2 or 0.98 percent responds maybe (not sure).

Diagram 2: Distribution of response from Urban population.

Out of 637 respondents, 248 or 38.93 percent are from Sub-urban. Out of 248 respondents 215 or 86.69 percent have agreed and 14 or 5.65 percent have disagreed that the first priority for women should be the role of parenting, and family. Rest 19 or 7.66 percent responds maybe (not sure).

Diagram 3: Distribution of response from Sub-urban population.

Out of 637 respondents, 184 or 28.89 percent are from Sub-urban. Out of 184 respondents 177 or 96.20 percent have agreed and 2 or 1.09 percent have disagreed that the first priority for women should be the role of parenting, and family. Rest 5 or 2.72 percent responds maybe (not sure).

Diagram 4: Distribution of response from Rural population.

From the total responses from 637 respondents, 571 or 89.64 percent have agreed and 40 or 6.28 percent have disagreed that the first priority for women should be the role of parenting, and family. Rest 26 or 4.08 percent responds maybe (not sure). The below table describe the overall responses:





87.32 percent

11.71 percent

0.98 percent


86.69 percent

5.65 percent

7.66 percent


96.20 percent

1.09 percent

2.72 percent


89.64 percent

6.28 percent

4.08 percent

Table 2: Distribution of preference (in percent) of respondents.

From the above table it is clear that most of the people (89.64 percent) in West Bengal agrees that the first priority for women should be the role of parenting, and family. Moreover, the difference between urban and rural are only 8.88 percent. Also, most of the people from urban prefer most women to revolve around home than from sub-urban (0.63 percent difference between sub-urban and urban preference – yes). Moreover, according to table 2, most people from sub-urban want to see women in contributing towards workforce that in urban or rural.

The mindset of Indian society is one the key contributor for keeping women out of workforce due to various pre/misconception about working women. (5) The domination of men at workplace also sometimes restrict women to explore and share their ideas among colleagues. (14) Also, recent increase in woman workforce from sub-urban to urban has gradually increased which results to run ladies special local train in Kolkata, Mumbai etc. (15)


  1. Hind, T. (12th Mar. 2015). How the role of women has changed in the workplace over the decades – and are we in a better place today?. HR Zone. Retrieved from https://www.hrzone.com/lead/culture/how-the-role-of-women-has-changed-in-the-workplace-over-the-decades-and-are-we-in-a on 9th Nov. 2017.

  2. Mukerjee, T. (02nd Aug. 2016). Women on top – the change from a housewife to a CEO. Your Story. Retrieved from https://yourstory.com/2016/08/hoursewife-ceo/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  3. Griffin, P. (19th Aug. 2015). Women entrepreneurs: A positive change is certain. Forbes India. Retrieved from http://www.forbesindia.com/article/independence-day-special/women-entrepreneurs-a-positive-change-is-certain/40887/1 on 9th Nov. 2017.

  4. Sharma, K. (12th Sept. 2015). Why do women work so hard?. The Hindu. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Kalpana_Sharma/kalpana-sharma-on-our-society-increasing-the-burden-that-women-already-carry/article7641380.ece on 9th Nov. 2017.

  5. Mishra, K. (13th Oct. 2015). How does patriarchy impact the position of a middle class working woman in India? [GS-I, 2014]. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@kaustbh/how-does-patriarchy-impact-the-position-of-a-middle-class-working-woman-in-india-gs-i-2014-a767733318d6 on 9th Nov. 2017.

  6. Waller, N. (27th Sept. 2016). How Men & Women See the Workplace Differently. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://graphics.wsj.com/how-men-and-women-see-the-workplace-differently/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  7. Ray, S. (08th Mar. 2016). As India economy grows, female participation in work force declines: ILO. Hindustan Times. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/business/as-india-economy-grows-female-participation-in-work-force-declines-ilo/story-pGjf3zWf0VpnWfevajMUsM.html on 9th Nov. 2017.

  8. Bhandare, N. (05th Aug. 2017). Why Indian Workplaces Are Losing Women. The Wire. Retrieved from https://thewire.in/165005/indian-workplaces-losing-women-nationwide/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  9. Women need to encourage male colleagues who try to help them. (15th Sept. 2015). Financial Times. Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/8ac17d88-55a3-11e5-9846-de406ccb37f2 on 9th Nov. 2017.

  10. Dutt, R. (17th May 2017). A Shocking 64% Of Indians Think Role Of Women Is To Become Good Mothers And Wives: Survey. Huff Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/05/17/a-shocking-64-of-indians-think-role-of-women-is-to-become-good_a_22095588/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  11. Bilandani, N. (18th May 2017). Majority of Indians Think Role of Women in Society is to be Good Mothers and Wives: Study. The CSR Journal. Retrieved from http://thecsrjournal.in/majority-of-indians-think-role-of-women-in-society-is-to-be-good-mothers-and-wives-study/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  12. Karnik, M. (19th Dec. 2016). Most Indian working women are married. Quartz India. Retrieved from https://qz.com/866357/most-indian-working-women-are-married/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  13. Jackson, C. (25th April 2017). Four in Ten Americans Believe Women’s Role is as Mothers and Wives. IPSOS. Retrieved from https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/womens-role-as-mothers on 9th Nov. 2017.

  14. Brown, C. (07th June 2017). Why Men Still Dominate Corporate Boardrooms. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2017/06/07/most-powerful-women-career-advice-corporate-boardroom-diversity-workplace-inequality-favoritism/ on 9th Nov. 2017.

  15. Suburban railway station in Mumbai now has all-women staff. (12th July 2017). The Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/suburban-railway-station-in-mumbai-now-has-all-women-staff/435526.html on 9th Nov. 2017.


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