Google fb32x32 twitter linkedin feed-icon-32x32

Indian Women Under Pressure?

Indian Women Under Pressure?

August 01, 2011

According to a new report, our sisters in India are the most stressed women in the world.

Visions of wafting chiffon, the jingle of glass bangles, time to get your hands hennaed are the images, I am sure you share with me of an Indian woman in India... Well, that idea is so 80’s Yaar! As according to a new report, ‘Women of Tomorrow’ by reputed global information and measurement company Nielsen, shows that our sisters in India came out top for being the most stressed women in the world. The top three countries were India (87%); Mexico (74%) and Russia (69%).  While, in the developed countries women expressed feeling this pressure most in Spain (66%), France (65%) and Italy (64%).

The study was conducted from February to April of 2011, polling approximately 6,500 women throughout 21 developed and emerging countries including those in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and North America
.  It was done to show where the most stressed women of the world lived, how they behave as a result and to understand their consumer habits. This report reveals some fascinating insights about what causes stress in women around the world...and it is not about ‘does my bum look big in this!’. We have always known women can multitask and now women globally are managing multiple roles and it is this juggling of tasks, duties and expectations that are causing stress.

The results of the polls showed that a staggering 87% of Indian women claim feeling stressed most of the time, with an additional 82% asserting they had insufficient time to relax.  The women here say they are pressured for time, feel stressed and overworked. In fact these women indicated they feel the pressure more than women in developed countries. Interestingly, Indian women, while claiming to be the most stressed, were also most likely to spend disposable income on themselves. Upwards of three quarters of Indian women admitted they would spend on beauty and health items, while 96% said they would buy clothing. (I knew shopping was in my DNA! ) What this reflects is that women are increasing their spending power, and with that they gain more control and influence over key household decisions. This also indicates to me that Indian women are increasingly becoming more independent and confident; putting themselves first as opposed to may be their husband and or family.

It is these next findings that really speak to me and I guess to many of us from Indian backgrounds...when asked how women expect to allocate additional money they earn or expect to earn over the next five years, differences emerge
. More than half (56%) of women in emerging countries said they plan to allocate funds for their children’s education, contrasted to 16 percent of women in developed countries. Women in Nigeria (85%), India (76%) and Malaysia (63%) gave the most importance to saving for their children’s education. Education is always so important to Asian families; the expectation of good grades, degrees, more degrees...which to me seems pointless and a contradiction.

Why?...because in India the pressure of education for girls to gain degrees and study further all seems a farce, as soon after completing their education many women are then under pressure to enter into marriage, which leads to the next pressures on young Indian women...become a home maker and mother; and not use the degrees that she painstakingly collected or the career she may have mastered.

I shall leave you with this last the report it showed that nearly 80 percent of women in developed economies believe the role of women will change and of those, 90 percent believe it will change for the better. This leaves me with one question - are we women idealists? Do women in India really believe their roles will change for the better if the pressure is still there from the tradionalists to get married and have children?

Photo Credit
: haRee 


  • Sangeeta Haindl
    Sangeeta Haindl
    24.11.11 01:59 AM
    @zradar - Thank you for your thoughts and you are right -there are so many things to raise, say and change. It all starts with awareness. I am glad that you liked the post.
  • zradar
    23.11.11 02:02 PM
    When girls,they are under pressure to study and earn good marks. When teenagers they are under pressure to rank as first,make parents proud and selectively choose their friends (boys esp.).While graduation,if a class mate or a distant relative elopes,they are under pressure and every move is watched vigilantly.After graduation they are put in pressure,to marry.if a proposal falls apart,again under pressure,cos it is their fault.After marriage,the pressure is to give birth..Oh..i could just go on with this,though i hate to..But i liked ur post..
  • Sangeeta Haindl
    Sangeeta Haindl
    03.08.11 04:59 PM
    Hi Monita,

    Sure you can add links and thanks for Chetan Bhagat's piece.

    I enjoyed reading it and first off he is right...'Indian women are the most
    beautiful in the world'. ;-)

    I think he makes some interesting points, though his thoughts are more on how to personally deal with stress; not what is at the real root of stress/pressure nor how society can actually change things.

    I still think many of the real pressures and strains Indian women feel come from the attitudes of Indian society of how it views women and their role/status in society.
  • Sangeeta Haindl
    Sangeeta Haindl
    03.08.11 04:53 PM
    @Shrinidhi Hande - Why do you think women are under pressure? Any insights?
  • monita
    03.08.11 10:33 AM
    Here is a link to Chetan Bhagat's article in response to this survey (I hope it's alright to post a link):

    I think he has rightly pointed that a lot of stress is because of constant competition that Indian women subject themselves too. We are forever comparing ourselves to other women and we either beat ourselves up for our shortcomings or make other women look inferior to us.
    Either way we are causing stress for ourselves and the other women.
  • Shrinidhi Hande
    Shrinidhi Hande
    02.08.11 07:41 PM
    I believe they are under pressure...
  • Sangeeta Haindl
    Sangeeta Haindl
    02.08.11 02:39 PM

    It is always means something to me to get a comment from people actually working at grassroots who are making a difference as you are the experts. So thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    Why do you think women's thinking and attitudes have not changed in spite of the economic independence? What are the changes that need to be made? Where or how do you think we should make changes to help women change their thinking? I would be interested to know your thoughts...thank you.
  • Sangeeta Haindl
    Sangeeta Haindl
    02.08.11 02:33 PM
    Hi Sunil,
    Yes, you are right...there are so many social expectations exerted on women and on their roles that there is no room or option for compromise; it is all or nothing. How do you think women can change this? Where should the support come from?
  • Meera Sundararajan
    Meera Sundararajan
    02.08.11 11:51 AM
    Reallly enjoyed this piece. I work with poor women at the grassroots in India and it is true that women save and take loans to support the education of their children. But what is disturbing is that despite women taking on more and more responsibilities their decision making on important domains has still not really changed
  • Sunil Deepak
    Sunil Deepak
    02.08.11 11:11 AM
    I think that lot of pressure on young women in India today comes from the expectations that they will continue to work after marriage and behave differently outside their homes (be more independent and entreprising) and yet continue to be same old dutiful wife, mother and daughter-in-law at home.

Leave a comment