Women in India – GT1000 Guest Post #4

October 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

This semester, the GT Women’s Resource Center is teaching a section of GT 1000, Georgia Tech’s freshman seminar class. As part of our class, we are having each of our students contribute a blog post. The following post is the fourth one and discusses one student’s perception of the differences in cultures and women around the world.

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For anyone who has been to India, the gender contrast is staggering and to a very large extent surprising. The difference I experienced when I came here was expected, but nonetheless striking. Incidentally I also applied for a class at Tech and in many ways it brings out the contrast between the culture differences here and back in India.

According to me, the difference in the mindset of people is the most important difference at different places of world. At some places like Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to show even their face and cannot go out without wearing a “burkha”, while in Europe and United States, people are not really concerned about the attire of women. India, however, takes a moderate view upon it. Indian culture, especially in North India, doesn’t allow women, and in some parts even young girls to wear what are called “western clothes”. This is related to freedom, because any such restrictions are not enforced upon men in India.

The restrictions are placed not only on the attire, but almost everything in general – In most of the places women are not expected to drive, work for a company rather work back at home. Anything different is seen with a sort of a slight contempt, and this has led to the creation of a male-dominated society, where women have almost no rights and lots of duties. This was evident in the earlier (some still prevalent) practices in the society of “Sati” (Killing of a women after her husband’s death), “Purdah” (requiring women to cover their bodies so as to conceal their skin and form), Polygamy, etc.  Although these practices have been mostly abolished, women are now being troubled in different ways by actions of domestic and sexual violence, acid throwing, and the rampant dowry system. The earlier culture has been the main reason why the women are so restricted there, and most of the elderly people still find it difficult to adjust with the ever changing world. My grandfather still finds the idea of a co-ed school/college not enterprising, because that is his mindset. This explains why the practices that were prevalent earlier but the new ones are still unacceptable.

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the Indian culture sitting elsewhere, it being so different from other places. However, all is not lost as people of a newer generation have accepted the need for change. The need for women empowerment has been seen and women are being offered new freedom as never before. Most of the restrictions are being taken down and they are being seen in novel places. The change has begun, but it remains to be seen that if people just leave the negativities of their culture or their culture as a whole.

– Uddhav B.

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