Most college girls want to define themselves in terms of their profession, with more than half even willing to go against the wishes of their families for the right career choice, a survey reveals.
The survey, carried out by Lady Shri Ram College, takes a detailed look at gender perception among college-going women.
Sixty-three per cent of the students, who were surveyed, chose ‘profession’ as the most significant identity, followed by 27 per cent, who chose ‘gender’. Only 1 per cent identified themselves on the basis of ‘caste’, 4 per cent on the basis of ‘religion’ and 5 per cent on the basis of ‘region’.
Sixty per cent students said they were willing to go against the wishes of their parents, but only for the sake of their careers. “On the face, it seems that young women do not see themselves in terms of traditional identities. They would rather define themselves in terms of careers and class rather than caste, religion or region. They are focused and unwilling to make compromises on this front. Only a miniscule 3 per cent were willing to sacrifice their jobs for parenting responsibilities, with more than 75 per cent choosing to take a break and work from home instead,” the survey says.
Jobs in the IT sector, banking and multinational companies are the most favoured among girls.
Conducted through an online questionnaire, the survey asked students of the college to respond to 35 questions, which included themes like identity, meaning of freedom, gender-based violence, career choices, sexual harassment and role of social networking sites. The responses were then analysed to arrive at the findings.
The survey found social networking sites, both influencing gender sensitivity as well as leading to sexual harassment with nearly 700 students saying that they found social networking sites “both liberating and harassing”.
In the context of family, the survey notes, “Domestic violence declines marginally in cases of women, who are financially independent. Ironically, the family, perceived as a safe and secure place, is not any different from public spaces, which are perceived as unsafe and notorious. Hence, in the context of the family, gender perceptions are shaped by barriers to and curtailment of choice, familial roles and the normalisation of violence against women.”
“Both the family and state reinforce fear, vulnerability and sexual assault as critical characteristics of gender identity. It may be argued that here, gender is perceived in a negative sense through the failure of the state. The identity of citizenship is not experienced as empowering. It is not surprising that acts of staring, stalking or groping are ignored by a majority of young women because of the common perceptions about the dire consequences of their reactions,” the survey says.
Only 30 per cent interviewed for the survey said they always reacted to incidents of sexual harassment.