42.6% men say women should tolerate violence to keep family together: report

Grand revelations: (Left to right) Nandita Gandhi, Nandita Shah and Rahul Bose at the launch of Big Small Steps in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Grand revelations: (Left to right) Nandita Gandhi, Nandita Shah and Rahul Bose at the launch of Big Small Steps in Mumbai on Wednesday.  


Akshara Centre’s latest survey examine gender narratives in country

Mumbai is considered to be cosmopolitan and progressive but its gender equality score, according to Big Small Steps (a report examining gender narrative), was close to Ludhiana’s 54.9 at 56.7. In a pleasant surprise, Kolkata came up tops with a 70.3 score.

Over 6,000 respondents

Big Small Steps was released on November 27 by Akshara Centre, a Mumbai-based non-profit organisation that works for women empowerment, and an inclusive and safe city.

The report measured the acceptance of gender equality and gender beliefs amongst urban youth, change makers and thought leaders of tomorrow. The organisation surveyed a total of 6,428 young people between the ages of 15 to 29, of which 3,364 were men and 3,064 women from across eight cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar.

“Unless men, women and all genders have the same opportunities and the same access to resources, we will not see the progress and development which should rightfully be ours,” said Nandita Gandhi, co-director, Akshara Centre. “There is no doubt we need change, as ours is a very unequal and differentiated society with one group racing ahead and the other far behind. Unless we know what young people are thinking, how can we speak about change? Research and knowing will give us direction and strategies.”

A few highlights from the report include — an overwhelming 79.2% of men and 87.4% of women said that men and women should have the same rights; a majority of youth disagreed with the social taboo of women not entering the inner sanctorum of temples and mosques [58.7% men and 78.7% women]; 48.8% men believed that the last rites of parents should be performed by the son as against 31.3% women believing in the social custom; about 42.6% of men said women should tolerate violence to keep the family together.

Another deep and prevalent belief is that 49.4% men and 23.5% women say that women cannot run the home and do paid work. Significantly more men would like women as homemakers than women. A ‘real’ man also does not do any housework. Only 1.5% men said that basic cooking, cleaning and washing was their responsibility too. Most stayed away from the three basic tasks and confined themselves to paying bills and changing bulbs.

“Our data shows us that we need to focus on the areas of gender education of young people, empowering young women to be financially independent and improving laws and its implementation for women and the violence against them,” said Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara Centre.

‘A collective effort’

“But no one agency can do this, it has to be the collective effort of society, of the community of young people acting for equality; the mass media projecting better role models, the police and legal system working effectively, the corporates hiring more women and keeping them safe from harassment and the family supporting their daughters,” Ms. Shah added.

The launch of Big Small Steps also featured actor Rahul Bose who opened the dialogue on gender equality, followed by stand-up comedians Jackie Thakkar, Kajol Srinivasan and Pooja Ramachandran who continued the discourse along with performances.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 6:50:24 PM |

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