In response to a decline in Indian rural women’s formal labour supply, this paper explores attitudes and norms about gender in northern central states of India alongside Bangladesh. The specific coverage of the paper is 1995-2012 including five states of India: Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh. The first part of the paper explores attitudes using a sociological concept of a social norm, against which an individual’s attitude may vary toward a more, or less, egalitarian approach to women’s roles. The second discovers a positive association of the more egalitarian attitudes of women to their own prevalence in paid work and self-employment.
Our baseline for work status is inactivity. In spite of doubts about the accuracy of measurement of remunerated work, this study is able (convincingly) to show two findings. First, that all of this region of India has social norms which are less favourable to women’s equality with men than any part of Bangladesh. Second, that attitudes within the area vary sufficiently for women’s agency to be both possible, and even encouraged, vis-a-vis their array of different kinds of work both inside and outside the home and farm.
We conclude with suggestions for further research to explore social change over time in this phenomenon of social heterogeneity of attitudes. Such research is central to economics, and does not belong only in other disciplines such as sociology. We use the Demographic and Health Survey data (in India, National Family and Health Survey) alongside the smaller World Values Survey.
Authors Wendy Olsen1, Amaresh Dubey2, Nik Loynes3, Anup K Mishra4, Daniel Neff5, Santosh K Singh6, Samantha Watson7, and Min Zhang8.
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NOTE ABOUT CANCELLED SEMINAR:
This seminar replaces the following seminar by Prof Warren that has had to be cancelled due to unforseen circumstances. We will reschedule Prof Warren's talk for later in the 2016/2017 seminar season.
CANCELLED: Work-life balance and class: in search of working-class work-lives
Prof Tracey Warren, University of Nottingham