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Where Are The Working Women In Indian Serials?

We do see educated women, but post-marriage their life only revolves around husband & family. Which is why working women in Indian serials are largely absent!

We have all seen successful, working women in our lives. But we rarely find such working women in Indian TV serials.

Indian soaps are known for the strained saas-bahu relationships, drastic twists and turns and dramatic reactions. But another common feature of these soaps is the lack of working women. Most soaps show the female characters either as housewives or ones that do not have any career of their own. But is this how all women are in real life? Is this the expected norm?

Let us delve a little into the depiction of  working women in Indian serials & the ones that stand apart by showing women who work.

Working women in Indian TV serials would reflect the reality of many women!

We do see educated girls in soaps. However, the moment their hand is given in marriage, they are seen transforming into a traditional woman whose life now only revolves around her husband and his family. Her hard-earned education and dreams to make it big immediately disappear, as she resorts to spending all her time in the kitchen, cooking and caring for others. Sometimes, the woman is shown as protesting against all this but she ultimately accepts her fate and adapts to the new circumstances.

In real life, there are instances where girls give up their aspirations and higher studies after marriage, either by choice or compulsion. But is this the requirement? Is being a housewife a norm for all women after marriage, as these soaps seem to suggest? It almost seems as though the message for all the women out there is that they can only study and work up to the point of marriage. After that, it must all be sacrificed and this is the way to go!

Despite running for several years and garnering major viewership across households, certain elements of soaps have remained same. One such element is the portrayal of women. Women in these serials for long are written as either cunning devils who plot to destroy the family’s peace or innocent, meek souls who sacrifice their personality and dreams for the sake of others. Here a question arises: why are ambitious working women never shown or at least portrayed as ‘good’ in these soaps? Aren’t such women present in our everyday lives? Or is being one a bad thing?

With so much viewership and ability to influence, don’t makers of soaps have a responsibility to create content that inspires and stays true to the current times? Working women in TV serials would only reflect reality, after all.

Some soaps have made the change!

In the recent times however, we do see some progress in some Indian serials. Here are some instances of working women in Indian serials.

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Bade Acche Lagte Hain 2

Bade Achhe Lagte Hain originally aired from 2011 to 2014. The plot of second season now focuses on Ram and Priya, two contrasting individuals, who get married and how their life transforms after this. In this serial, the lead Priya, is a tuition teacher for college students. She is portrayed as an independent woman. A promo touched upon how no matter how successful a person is, none of it is considered as important as a marriage certificate.

Baakiyalakshmi

An adaptation of Bengali serial Sreemoyee, Tamil soap Baakiyalakshmi revolves around the story of Baakiya, a devoted mother, wife and daughter-in-law, who tolerates insensitive attitude and behaviour that she receives from her family members. Despite centring on the traditional mother sentiment, this serial has been quite different.

The serial shows Baakiya as a woman who finally decides to pursue her dreams by establishing a masala business and also taking food orders after years of only serving the family. The soap does convey that it is never too late to start something of your own!

Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi 3

Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi has run for two seasons now, with the third season currently airing. The third season focuses more on the complexities in the relationship between married couple, Dev and Sonakshi.

In this serial, Sonakshi is depicted as a nutritionist with her own company, who manages her career even after marriage and kids. The serial thus also looks into the life of a working mother and her challenges.

Meet

Meet is an Indian serial on Zee TV that recently aired on 23rd August, 2021. The story of Meet delves into the life of young Meet Hooda, hailing from Haryana, who cares little for gender rules set by the society. Meet’s role is highly non-conventional as she supports her family by working as a delivery girl. With the character recently being married in the serial, we are to watch how her life transforms post-marriage.

Yeh Hai Chahatein

Yeh Hai Chahatein has been airing on Star Plus since 2019. The plot initially focused on gynaecologist, Preesha, who raises her sister’s son after her death. She finds her life changed after she meets rockstar Rudraksh. Other than showing a working woman, the serial also delved a little into the life of a single mother.

Image source: Stills from Indian soaps

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