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Models of Role Identity in Indian Women Barriers to Growth

  • Psychology


The paper is based on the ten years of experience of the author and her colleague professor Pulin K. Garg with women students, career women, professionals and housewives. The paper explores the dynamics of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ of Indian women. The women experienced their ‘being’ mortgaged to the traditional culture and prescriptive roles and their ‘becoming’ to the emerging modern aspirations. Each step the women take to come to terms confronts her with a choice – the choice of branching out on her own or to postpone her dreams and aspirations for the role security of home and husband, the choice of enduring and persistant involvement in her career, life and meaning or to engage in transiant activities to save herself from boredom and spathy. Women who are attempting to create space for themselves and redefinition of their roles are confronted with fears of social stigma, isolation and loneliness. Their search for personhood gets them caught in the pulls and pushes of fragmented and narrow roles and the vicious grasp of the neurotic role processes of the Indian social system. It sucks them deeper in resolving inter personal relationship in their social and work setting. The role models both social and spiritual which are available provide only partial anchors. These models are either confronting, reacting or side stepping the system without modifying it. These role models only attempt to transcend the social system but fail to generate new processes of role change within the social system. It seems that the only alternative available to Indian women is to discover their psychological resources to trust themselves to create a path, and like heroes tread the path which has not been travelled before Women in search for existential meaning for themselves can only learn to make choices and not compromises and pay the price of the choices without blaming or bitterness.

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