Young Delhi women are wearing Western wear for most of the week, happy to make the first move on a guy they fancy, believe that women have more rights in Indian society than before BUT they are as conservative as their sisters of a decade or two ago when it comes to smoking and drinking in public or confessing to multiple sex partners.
A survey to gauge the changing social values of Delhi women of different age groups to mark International Women’s Day, threw up an interesting insight - when it comes to sex, morality and social mores, the Delhi woman still prefers to fall back on societal expectations of the kind of woman she should be.
An HT City poll of 300 women, conducted by Market Xcel Data Matrix, asked women in their 20s, 30s and 40s to state their attitude towards everything from premarital sex to smoking in public to whether women have advanced in Indian society.
The questions – on self-image, family and society – reveal that that Delhi’s 20-something in the year 2010 is not very different from her sisters of 10 or 20 years ago on some issues.
Today’s 20-something has Katrina Kaif as her role model while the 20-year-old of a decade ago saw Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi as women to emulate and Hema Malini and Rekha were favoured two decades back as role models. The number of women comfortable living on their own has gone up from 65 per cent ten years back to 70 per cent today.
Also, the number of women who watch porn has gone up from 14 per cent 20 years ago to 20 per cent today, while the number of women willing to make the first move on a guy has gone up from 9 per cent 20 years ago to 20 per cent today. The number of women wearing western wear 6-7 times a week has jumped from 10 per cent to 46 per cent in the last 20 years.
Some surprise findings include:
More Indian women may smoke today that in previous decades (Tobacco Atlas ranks India at third in the top 20 female smoking populations across the globe) but almost all the 20-29 year-olds said they were uncomfortable smoking or drinking in public. 79% of them are uncomfortable going to a bar on their own. Women in their 30s and 40s were as uncomfortable doing the same in their 20s.
73 per cent women between 20-29 years are uncomfortable earning more than their husbands/male partners, while 56 per cent of women in their 40s were comfortable with that when they were 20.
89 per cent women between ages 20-29 say they are uncomfortable marrying someone younger than them. 81 per cent of women in their 40s felt the same when they were 20.
45 per cent of women in their 20s believe they have been granted equal opportunities as their brothers to work or study while 56 per cent of women in their 40s believe they had equal access to work and study when they were 20.
Fewer than five per cent of women between 20-29 are comfortable with the idea of having multiple sexual partners, sex outside marriage or having an abortion. The figures are about the same for women in their 30s and 40s. However slightly more women in their 40s were comfortable with multiple sex partners in her 20s (seven per cent)
Psychiatrists and sociologists say the figures reflect that women may be more comfortable drinking and smoking in public or having sex outside of marriage but that they are not comfortable confessing to this.
“The Indian society forces the woman to project herself as the conventional good woman. This ideology is in her sub-conscious mind. They may be indulging in all these but they have not the strength to acknowledge it in public,” says Dr Bhavna Burmi, psychologist.
- SOCIOLOGIST’S QUOTE HERE. Quotes from young Delhi women here.