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Pew Study on Gender Roles | 9 in 10 Indians think Wife must Always Obey Husband

Pew Study on Gender Roles- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Salient features of Indian Society- Women in Indian Society.

Indian Polity


Pew Study on Gender Roles- Background

  • A Pew study on Gender Roles titled “How Indians view gender roles in families and society” was released recently, highlighting the status of women in contemporary Indian Society.
  • The findings of the Pew study are based on a survey of 29,999 Indian adults conducted from November 2019 to March 2020.
  • The study found that for a variety of historical, social, religious and economic reasons, families tend to place a higher value on sons rather than daughters.

Indian Polity


Pew Study on Gender Roles- Key Findings

  • Favour Traditional Gender Roles for Women: The study found that while Indians accept women as political leaders, they mostly favour traditional gender roles in family life.
    • While 55% of Indians believed that men and women make equally good political leaders, “nine-in-ten Indians agree with the notion that a wife must always obey her husband”.
    • Indian women were only slightly less likely than Indian men to agree with this sentiment (61% versus 67%).
  • On Child Care: Although most Indians expressed egalitarian views on gender roles, with 62% saying that both men and women should be responsible for child care.
    • However, traditional norms still held sway, with 34% convinced that child care “should be handled primarily by women”.
  • On earning roles: 54% of respondents say that both men and women” should be responsible for earning money.
    • On the other hand, as many as 43% believed that earning an income is mainly the obligation of men.
    • 80% of Indians agreed with the idea that when there are few jobs, men should have more rights to a job than women.
  • Male Son Preference: While Indians valued both sons and daughters, nearly 94% said it is very important for a family to have at least one son, with the corresponding figure for daughters being 90%.
  • On the Inheritance Rights: About 64% of Indians also said that sons and daughters should have equal rights to inheritance from parents.
  • On Parental Care: while four-in-10 adults said that sons should have the primary responsibility to care for aging parents, only 2% said the same about daughters.
  • On Sex-Selective abortion: 40% of Indians saw “sex-selective abortion as acceptable in at least some circumstances”.
    • However, 42% found this practice “completely unacceptable”.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015


Pew Study on Gender Roles- How India fares on Global Scale

  • On Gender Equality: A global median of 70% said that it was very important for women to have the same rights as men.
    • Similarly in India, 72% of Indians believe that gender equality is very important.
  • Indians were less likely than people in North America (92% median), Western Europe (90%), and Latin America (82%) to place a high value on gender equality.
  • They were more likely to do so compared to sub-Saharan Africa (48% median) and the Middle-East-Northern Africa region (44%).
    • In South Asia, Indians were more likely to bat for gender equality than Pakistanis (72% to 64%).
  • Indians with a college degree were less likely to hold traditional views on gender roles, although this did not extend to all gender-related issues.



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