Indian women are tough. Meanwhile, men do a lot of sitting around. This is, of course, a GROSS generalization. But during my time in India, I saw dozens of women doing strenuous manual labor, such as carrying a headful of bricks, working in the tea plantations, sweeping leaves on steep mountain sides (still unsure why they were doing this), carrying children, sweating over a huge pot of curry or rice, etc. At the same time, I saw probably hundreds of men sitting around on benches, publicly napping, sipping chai, or gambling in the street with their friends.
I’m guessing (and this is just my personal assessment and not based on any facts) it has something to do with the caste system, traditional Indian gender roles, and also the fact that there are simply more men in India than women. In lower castes, a woman’s place is in the home, caring for the children and husband. If a lower caste woman isn’t married or is widowed, she has to work in order to survive so she ends up in a difficult, laborious job. I rarely ever saw females working at restaurants, shops, bars, or guest houses unless she was cleaning or cooking.
Plenty of high caste women finish school, attend university, get good jobs, and have love marriages, but this is the exception and not the norm. In general, Indian women have to fight harder to move up in the world, to get an education, to get a job, and to stay safe from being violated by men. I heard someone refer to them once as “2nd class citizens” which sounds harsh, but is basically true. I never once saw a man get up on a crowded bus to let a woman sit down, even if there was a elderly lady standing right in front of him. At the hospital, the family of the patient in the area next to mine was a mom, dad, and uncle. The dad and uncle sat in the two chairs in the room and the mom had to sit, and sometimes sleep, on the floor. Men also do not hold doors open for women. There is no such thing as chivalry in India unless the guy thinks he might get laid.
Most lower caste Indians have to work very hard for minimal wages. The work week is either 6 or 7 days; weekends don’t exist. If you own a shop or restaurant, you’re there every day. You’ll see the same hostel/guest house employees every single day, no matter what time you’re coming or going. The nurses in the “American” hospital worked six days in a row before having a day off.
I wrote in my post about Victoria the artist that I was glad to be from a country where I can love whoever I want and get married whenever I want, if at all. This is another example of me feeling grateful to be from a place where women have equal opportunities as men and where the law ensures that we get a fair amount of time off work to enjoy our lives.
But back to those lazy men… After seeing so many men lounging around towns, I started taking pictures. Here’s a few for your viewing pleasure: