research institute for compassionate economics

Disapproval of women working outside the home

By Payal Hathi January 25th, 2018

This graph uses SARI data to show that about half of adults in Delhi, Mumbai, urban Rajasthan, rural Rajasthan, urban Uttar Pradesh, and rural Uttar Pradesh say that married women whose husbands earn a good living should not work outside the home.  There are no data for women in Mumbai because SARI interviewed only men in Mumbai.   In most regions, there are no statistically significant differences in the percent of men and women who say that women should not work outside the home, but differences between men’s disapproval and women’s disapproval are somewhat more pronounced in urban areas than in rural areas.

For comparison, we plot, as a time-series, the proportion of adults (men and women, 18+) in the United States who said that they “disapprove” when the General Social Survey (GSS) asked them if they approve or disapprove of a married woman earning money in business or industry if her husband is able to support her.   SARI’s question was intentionally worded for comparison with this question, which was asked of GSS respondents between 1972 and 1998.  With the exception of female respondents living in Delhi, SARI respondents’ disapproval for women’s work in each region of India is higher than what it was in the United States 45 years ago.

This graph was published in “Explicit Prejudice: Evidence from a New Survey” in EPW.