Why Indian Stereotypes feel women to be a liability though they are assets?

woman suffers a disadvantageous position

Gender Hierarchy and Social Constructs

This is the known or established fact that a woman suffers a disadvantageous position in comparison with a man and is at an inferior position due to gender hierarchy and social constructs. Natural selection theory states that the fittest of all will be able to survive. Due to evolution or biological evolution man is physically stronger than a woman. During puberty, the boy gains such a body structure and feature that easily allow them to exert force on the weaker sex. Haven’t we seen a muscular woman or a skinny or thin man? We have. The point is that who or which sex work physically more. Due to continuous physical work, strength does develop or increases. I firmly believe inferiority or superiority is a mental construct. What we see or hear as a child we believe that. From listing stories of great king or man (with no or little role of woman in history) to asking male members before doing any task, girls automatically perceived the notion of being inferior.

Paraya Dhan

The concept of feminism emerges as women are treated inferior from century across different cultures. Idea is to give back what they deserve and make them aware of their rights. We live in a patriarchal society where parents are inclined towards son or prefer to have a son. Daughter in India is called Paraya Dhan, who is supposed to go to their husband’s family. They refer it as a shift of the property from father to husband. The patriarchal system is deeply rooted in our society. In every form or document, women are supposed to fill their father’s or husband’s name. But man does not put her name in any document. Women are forced to take permission from father, brother, husband, uncle, etc. They are oppressed at the hand of a male-dominated society. Women’s issues, problems, and rights began to gain international recognition during the decade of 1975–1985. It was also declared the United Nations Decade for Women. [1]

How the condition of Indian Woman is different from the woman of other countries? -Protection of Human Rights

People in India call feminists a man-hater or mankind hater or even feminazi. The problems of the third world countries are very different from the first and second world countries. At one place feminist is fighting for divorce rights, abortion rights, etc, whereas third world country’s women don’t have access to clean water, sanitation facilities and even shelter to live. In the Indian context, feminism is viewed more as a protection of human rights rather than privileged rights or rights which are beyond natural rights. Feminism in the western world emerges due to the presence of oppression but the life of Indian women is defined as sorrowful. Some issue that Indian women suffered is never even heard by western women, issues such as hunger, disease, infant death, beating without reason, ruthlessness and burden of custom and culture. In short, they are considered as LIABILITY IN INDIA.


Intersectional feminism is more applicable in the Indian context. Here women face layers of oppression which is not just limited to gender but also includes caste, religion, etc. Dalit or Muslim women face more oppression than Hindu or Sikh women in India. Similarly, North Eastern woman is a victim of double oppression.[2] While checking or determining privilege we need to look for factors such as caste, religion, income level, etc. along with gender.   

Atrocities faced by woman

An issue of honor killing is very common in India (in most of Haryana), where especially a woman is a victim. Inter-caste marriage, having sex before marriage is still considered as a taboo. They don’t even have a right to choose a life partner and right to property. Although the Indian constitution has such provisions related to the ancestral property, they are too afraid to approach the court. Basic health care is still lacking in many villages in India. With no availability and expensiveness of sanitary napkins, they became a victim of many infections and severe diseases.  Women spent most of her life as a married woman. She got married by 18 in many parts of the country (even child marriage is also in practice still now). India has a low birth ratio i.e., the number of women per 1000 men. The maternal mortality rate is too very high due to non-availability as well as inaccessibility to health care. Customs and traditions force women to wear a certain dress and cover their bodies. There were several cases were man seeks a divorce on the ground that she wore jeans or didn’t cook tasty food. There is a need for providing basic amenities such as clean water, employment, health care, shelter and most importantly a peaceful environment where a woman is not a victim of a random beating by husband or in-laws.


Why Woman is considered a Liability?

Our society is deeply woven into the fabric of the patriarchal system where the head of the family is male. Man is supposed to earn and feed his family. Whereas a woman is given the role of house making due to the prevailing notion of her being inferior to the male sex. Parents prefer son over daughter since they need to pay dowry in her wedding and she will not economically support them or provide any support to them after her marriage. For this reason, she is also considered as Paraya Dhan or the transfer of property.  Parents have to do saving for her wedding day this caused them to consider as a liability, not an asset. Although dowry payment is prohibited in India through the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Son is considered an asset because he will be always available for them and supports them whereas the daughter will get married someday and go to another house where she will perform her duties and work for them. Parents are not interested to invest money in a woman when she is young since one day she has to go to her husband’s place. Moreover, our culture and customs are more favourable for a man than a woman. A woman is taught what to wear and speak to conform to social and gender norms. 

Way Forward

We need to shed the stereotypes and give her the right to study and work. She too can be equally supportive given a chance. Shackles of illogical rituals need to be broken to create a better world.  In 2016 the Bombay High Court has ruled out a judgment that married woman are equally obliged to take care of their parents as married son is. This is a very bold judgment and a way forward to break traditional norms and stereotypes.

Edited by Ojaswi Gupta

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] Radha Kumar, The History of Doing, Kali for Women, New Delhi, 1998.

[2] Samyuktha Nair, “Is third wave of feminism applicable in India?”, ED Times, February, 2018, available at https://www.edtimes.in/is-third-wave-feminism-applicable-in-india-our-bloggers-battle-it-out-on-the-question/ (last accessed on 29.09.2019).