• Harshada Desai

Will you work after getting married?

Updated: May 30

In Bengaluru, 9 bright young women, between the ages of 18 - 26 were interviewed. These girls were single, confident, had a college degree, supportive parents and a job. All of

which makes them empowered young girls.

This was extremely encouraging!

When asked, “Do you think it is easier for boys to get jobs than girls?”. Almost all of them replied with a firm “No”. They were further asked if they had faced any gender-based discrimination at work and all of them, again, firmly replied “No”. One of the girls, Ruksana

Begam went to explain “No! Both are equal”.

These answers make one believe that we have made significant strides towards gender equality. According to the India Skills Report,2019 employability continues to be the highest

in Bengaluru compared to the rest of the country and it is also the most preferred city by women to work in. Yet, data and research show a complex and puzzling picture.

The same report also shows that although women are becoming more educated, simultaneously women in the workforce has fallen from 28% in 2017 to 23% in 2018. Defying the positive female contribution to the workforce, typically associated with higher education.

Has marriage got anything to do with this?

Yes, marriage!

Unfortunately, from the conversation with these 9 girls, it seems that much of the reason why women do not work appears to lie in the persistence of India’s traditional gender and

societal norms, which seeks to ensures the authority of the in-laws and the husband.

When I asked the girls “Will you work after getting married?” These were all the answers I got:

“After marriage... family is most important. I am not saying no. For 2 years, I can work and I carry on, after that, I will be with my family”

“I like to work because... I will ask me like in-laws”. When I asked her “What if they say

no?” She simply replied, “No. I will ask”. “No idea about that…” When asked “What if your mother-in-law says you can’t work?” She replied “I won’t force anybody”

“I would love to, but I am not sure…”

There was only one answer that was vaguely positive: “Yes...Because it depends upon us”

This picture seems daunting and even shocking. It makes one ask: How do we affect women empowerment from a young age? It is important that we investigate how we empower girls to take actions and direct the course of their own lives throughout.

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