The Role of Women, Where Do They Really Belong?

By: Pooja M. & Anamika S.

Gallagher B3


From invisible and unheard, to taking control of India and dominating entertainment markets, Indian women have raced up the social ladder over the past years. In ancient India, women were knows as property of a man. Although the status of women in South India was better than North India, all of them were expected to follow the same rules. For example, their only education revolved around household chores and they were not allowed to work outside of their house. Now days, Indians have not only began to treat women and men fair, but India has the largest population of working women in the entire world. One of the major issues was how women were not given enough freedom for their marriage but the top male member had to choose her spouse. Most of the time, women would be marriage before they turned twenty and mostly between the ages of 8-10. The child marriage along with it brought some more problems such as increased birth rate, poor health of women due to repeated child bearing and high mortality rate of women and children. We chose to focus on the role of women in India because this top causes a lot of controversy. Many people have different viewpoints on this because some believe in tradition while some believe in the modern world. Many people think that women should be equal to men and be treated the same. But, many people also think that a man works harder than a woman, therefore a woman is not as important as a man.


Visual Examples


This picture shows women in what as viewed as their traditional job. They are carrying food back to their houses so that they can cook for their family. This shows that they are supporting their family instead of working opposing the woman below. This shows an example of a traditional Indian woman.


This is a picture of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. She is India's richest woman and owns her own pharmaceutical firm. Many women these days work in business and other professional jobs. This woman is doing what she has always dreamed of doing instead of listening to other people told her to do. She is an example of a modern Indian woman.


The picture on the left shows a woman on what she "should be doing", this is in the view of a traditional Indian. She's sitting at home cooking for her family, while her husband it at his job raising money and pursuing his dream. On the right, is a picture of a few women at a call center. This is a popular job for Indian women in the modern world. They are working and supporting themselves and their family, instead of depending on their husband and their father. This picture depicts the tug of war between modernity and tradition. Should women keep doing what they are supposed too, or should they fight for their equality so that they can also become great things in life? 


Conflict Between Man and Woman


A conversation between a young girl and her father shows this conflict.


Girl: Papa, I decided that I’m going to grow up and become a doctor! I want to go to college and learn more just like my brothers!


Father: What kind of silly talk is this? You have to grow up to take care of your own family, not others. A girl cannot be a doctor!


Girl: Why not? There are many women that work these days, not just me. I don’t want to stay home all day, I want to do something with my life!


Father: Do something? But that’s not the way that life goes. Look at your older cousins, both of them are happy staying at home and taking care of their children.


Girl: But, both of them are also 20 years older than me!


Father: Yes, but that shouldn’t matter! You should learn from your elders. You only went to school so you could learn basic knowledge that you would need to know. You don’t need to learn any further. Your brothers are responsible for supporting their own family and our family, however you are not.


Girl: But what if I can take care of my family, and work?


Father: Well, that is not an option. You will not be allowed to work no matter what. You are a girl and your job is to take care of your own family. You should be focusing on learning to cook food, clean the house, and wash clothes, with the help of your mother. Having silly dreams like this is useless.


^This could be a typical conversation between a father, who believes in traditional values, and his daughter, who is more modern. While the girl wants to keep learning and become someone important, her father does not approve. He thinks that she should stay at home so she can take care of her kids and her husband  someday. He does not want her to work because he thinks that only men can work.



Everyone has a different opinion on the role of women. Should they be educated and be able to work, or should they stay home for their family? Tradition says that a woman's role is to only educate herself with what she will need to know in order to be a good wife and mom. But, modernization says that women are equal to men and if they work for what they want, then they can achieve anything. This issue creates many conflicts in India, and is part of the tug of war between tradition and modernity.


Work Cited