A study on men's attitude towards women has brought to the fore the deep-rooted gender bias against the fair sex and hurdles the women face as members of the local self government bodies in Maharashtra.
The study paper presented by the students of Applied Psychology of Mumbai University (MU) during a sectional programme on "anthropological and behavioural sciences", at the 102nd India Science Congress in Mumbai on Wednesday stated that men perceive women as "incompetent" because of their gender.
"We tried to study men's attitude towards women and perceived incompetency in women. Women's rights is a contemporary issue and women in rural areas have far less exposure compared to women in urban areas," the students said.
"We studied women members of local self-government bodies in Maharashtra. They include sarpanch, former sarpanch and members of taluka bodies and zilla parishads. The sample size was 20," they said.
The students said their interviews with women were focused on the discrimination they have faced on the basis of gender.
"Our first finding was about male dominance. There were instances of men creating problems for women to prevent them from entering into this field (politics)," they said.
According to the students, though women get elected as Sarpanch but the actual decision-making is done by male members of their families.
"Many a times, women were made sarpanch but the decisions were taken by male members of the family and the woman sarpanch was just made to sign papers," they said.
The working woman is perceived to be inferior to males and aspersions are usually cast on her character because men consider this field as their fiefdom.
"We found that women are perceived as incompetent and as a result they don't get the exposure. In some cases, women were not even allowed to hoist national flag as men considered women inferior," they said.
The decision to reserve 50% seats in local self-government bodies in Maharashtra for women, created a sense of insecurity among men, they said.