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Are Indian Women Angrier Now Than 10 Yrs Ago Or Are People Finally Paying Attention?

A new Gallup poll reveals that up to 40% of Indian women are angry compared to 27% of men. This is a change from 29% angry women and 28% angry men 10 years ago, in 2012.

Indian women are praised as ‘susheel’, virtuous and to be emulated when they are obedient, ready to serve others and when they put the wishes of others before their own. However, Indian women no longer seem content to be in the constrictive mould that the patriarchy has fashioned for them. A Gallup poll looked at the issue of women’s anger, their worry, stress, sadness and found that women consistently feel these emotions more than men, particularly in India.

Women are angry

Image source

The poll looked at women’s anger the world over. While women in Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, Iraq and Afghanistan reported the most anger, those numbers were the lowest in Finland, Mauritius, Estonia, Portugal and the Netherlands. The poll looked at other negative emotions like sadness, stress, worry, physical pain also. Indian women are also the fifth-saddest in the world, found the poll.

Fighting the patriarchy

Global Anger in Women Image source

Many Indian media outlets covered the story about the Gallup survey on global emotions; with particular emphasis on Indian women.

The reason Indian women are so angry is probably because we are still an overwhelmingly patriarchal society. Women are probably angry about the many ways our society short-changes them and are challenging the patriarchy in a bid to change status quo.

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The question of ‘women’s’ work?

Women who step out of the home – literally and figuratively find that their roles are still very much defined by gender expectations. Whether women work outside the home or not, they are still very much the primary care givers of the family. Women are still expected to do a bulk of the domestic work such as cooking, cleaning, stocking the home and caring for children and elderly. This expectation persists whether or not they work outside the home.

When men do chores around the home or cook the occasional meal, they are lauded as ‘supportive’, or ‘progressive’. We still see domestic work through the lens of gender. As such women are overworked and under-rested, with far less time for leisure activities than men. So yes, women are more angry.

Time poverty – when we women run out of time, finally

Indian women are Angry Image source

Our society still expects women to be self-sacrificing and to place the comfort and care of others over their own. An India Spend report speaks of something called ‘Time Poverty’ which is very high among Indian women because they spend much more time than men on unpaid domestic work.

You can watch the analysis in Hindi here – that says that Indian women are 40% angry compared to Indian men who are 27% angry.

Try as we might, gender equality is still a very long way off. In our country, even among families with working women, the decision-making is still overwhelmingly in the hands of men. Power structures and economic clout still very much favours the men of the family.

Women are still paid less than men and have their ambitions curtailed by societal structures as well as the so-called biological imperative (which basically means that women are routinely punished and side-lined in the professional sphere for their ability to bear children).

Social perceptions of angry women

Drawings of a woman in catalepsy by Albert Londe Image source

The Gallup poll surveyed women who reported the anger and other emotions they experienced. Plus, there is yet another problem that women have to contend with: social perceptions. While a man would simply be called assertive women are routinely perceived as shrill, demanding and controlling.

The ‘hysterical’ woman

Image source

The old trope of the ‘hysterical woman’ is still one that plays out all over the world.  If a woman expresses anger she is still very likely to be viewed as ‘overreacting’ or, playing the ‘victim card’. This can be frustrating and exhausting for a woman who wants to speak out against injustice; who wants to fight for a modicum of equality. Is it any wonder women in India are angry enough to make themselves heard?

Image source: a still from the film Dil Dhadakne Do

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