What Do Urban Indian Women Want – The Reality vs Aspiration Gap.


This recent survey by SoulCafe shows that there is a discrepancy in what the Indian women aspires from a relationship and how our social fabric currently doesn’t seem to support her progressive aspirations.

The Indian woman has definitely come a long way but are we there yet in terms of our freedom to make our own choices? Is the social eco system in India progressing at the same rate as the Indian women, to support her growth? This survey is a reality check on what the educated Indian women thinks and how optimistic she is about the future?

The survey was taken by 1000+ urban Indian women spread across various Indian cities and also the ones settled abroad. 58.5% of the respondents are working, 23% – pursuing education and 19% were home makers. 49% of the respondents were married and the rest were single/separated. 32% of respondent fall in the 18-24 years age group, 32% in the 25-34 age group, 20 % in the 35-40 age group, 8.5 % in 40-45 and the remaining in 45+ age group.

Here are some key findings from the survey:

Equal but less Equal in a Relationship

  • Equal partnership in a committed relationship was ranked as the most important factor, followed by friendship & freedom/space.

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  • 69 % of the respondents mentioned “equal partnership in marriage” as the transformation they wish to see in the Indian society. Untitled design - 2019-05-27T130408.377.jpg

    The Illusion called – “Freedom of Choice”

  • 65% of respondents believe that the younger generation of today are not totally free to choose their life partner. In the 18-24 age group the percentage that believe the same is even higher – it’s 75%!Untitled design - 2019-05-27T121120.765.jpg
  •  50% of the women feel that they have to constantly do balancing act between their choices and societal expectations while 21% feel there is a long way to go to have complete control of her life choices.
  • Only 10% of the respondents are hopeful that in a few years she will be at par with her western counterpart.Untitled design - 2019-05-27T115902.182.jpg

We could raise our girls to be financially independent but if her social eco-system doesn’t support her freedom of choice it is only going to add up to her inner conflict and disillusionment.

Optimism Check for the Next Decade

  • Respondents were relatively optimistic about acceptance of divorce and inter caste marriages in India in the next decade, while they were less optimistic about other social stigmas – stigma against child free couples (28.3%), same sex marriage (23%), dowry (35%) and obsession over fair skin (36%).

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If we think we have come a long way, it’s indeed disheartening to see how  women are less optimistic on the society’s obsession about fair skin , dowry, taboo around same sex marriage and being child free couple. They feel all these are going to exist even after a decade. And if it really does, we surely have a long way to go.

Digital Connectivity and Deeper Connections

With SoulCafe’s focus on deeper connections – we also asked them on the number of deep connections they have.

No matter how digitally connected you are, the responses were in sync with Dunbar’s number – which states that generally people have up to five people in their closest circle.

  • 73% of our respondents had 1-4 people in their closest circle with whom they could open up and be their real selves always.Untitled design - 2019-05-27T122057.484.jpg

The findings in this survey paints a picture of the Indian woman’s rising aspirations and the inadequacy of the social fabric to keep up with her need for equality in relationships. Surely a long way to go before we sleep!

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SoulCafe App Now Available on Google Play.

Sarah & Evan (2)

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