Friday, 24 October 2014

Urban-Gender Definition Paradox

Sometimes in life you get to realize things only when you tend to see them minutely. This minute study of demographic profile of India brought my focus to gender equality. We talk about gender equality, gender empowerment, and gender security among other things to substantiate our claim of a society where women are respected and treated with equality with their male counterparts. We organise protest for reservation of women in political sphere, call for breakdown of Glass Ceiling in economic sphere but one thing that we overlook is Urban-Gender dichotomy.
This is because of biasness which is not psychological but has been institutionalized, legalized, overused and sometimes abused. One thing that raised my eye-brows very recently – the definition of urban areas. The census report indicates that an urban area is defined as a place where at least 75% of “male” working population is engaged in non-agricultural pursuits. Will that tantamount to absence of women or I must say working women in urban areas. There can be other interpretations like female economic empowerment is not necessary, or they are engaged in household pursuits or only as a body for male chauvinist patriarchs.
Women economic independence and urban definition cannot be based on a flawed concept that has been used for years without inter-alia proper working conditions for women, job opportunities, and equal pay. The definition undermines the concept of an egalitarian society without gender inequality. Studies pointed out that only 20% of “urban” educated working age women actually work further, nearly half of those drops out in mid-career. What is happening today is not feminisation of work but rise of pink collar jobs in the form of receptionists, nurses, call centre operatives etc.
Going by new definition where whole workforce is included, will there be any urban India ever achieved? Will there be a paradigm shift where females are given the equal participation in work and more emphasis is laid down on employment of women? Will the so called “urban spaces” will consider women as a workforce to rely upon? Apple CEO calls for freezing down of women eggs in order to have a better work culture and efficiency. So what we call, freezing down the institutionalized paranoia in favour of women so that urban areas are as open for women employers and employees as they are for men. Hope someday, that will not remain a utopian goal


  1. Dear Sahil,

    The text " urban area is defined as a place where at least 75% of “male” working population is engaged in agricultural pursuits.." should be " urban area is defined as a place where at least 75% of “male” working population is engaged in NON-agricultural pursuits...".