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The Times, They are A-Changin'

December 2010

If one were a regular soap opera viewer, one would think that the first words that
come to anyone's mind upon hearing the word "family" are "parampara" (tradition),
"maryada" (the respect accorded to the family) and, of course, "marriage" and
extended-family-related woes. TV families live in havelis, celebrating each and every
festival with all due pomp and circumstance, and joint families abound across India.
But while devotees of the family sagas so beloved on television might not think so, the
Indian family has changed. From being purely patriarchal and driven by belief (not to
mention the whims and fancies of the patriarch), families have become more
democratic units, where the national phrase of "thoda adjust karo" (adjust a little)
stands in good stead.

Changing family dynamics

There are many factors contributing to the changing family dynamics, but the ones that deserve a special mention
are the education of women and an increase in women working outside the home. Also at play are increased
geographic mobility and a breakdown of the joint family structure (today, 69.4% of urban families are nuclear
units, living without any elders), as well as easy availability of jobs, even for youth just out of school or college, in
the ITES sector.

Democratic family units


Overall, the family has become a more democratic unit, wherein each family member is given a say — to differing
degrees — in key family decisions, be it what to do for holidays or which brand of automobile to buy. The
relationship between husband and wife is moving in new directions, as well, and the relationship between parents
and children has a more friendly tone. Children no longer take parental diktats as gospel, and are ready to argue, if
not outright rebel. Even more marked is the degree of freedom and flexibility with regard to career and marriage,
though still within unspoken but well-understood bounds. Parents are more willing to negotiate and go through a
process of give-and-take on both issues, as opposed to issuing orders. However, the need for parental approval
remains high among youth.

The place of women in the family is changing


In the recent past, a woman’s entire sense of identity and achievement came from others — her children, her
husband, her parents and in-laws. Her role was primarily that of enabler, not protagonist. Today, however, women
have begun to take centre stage in the new family structure. Women have a say — not only in matters concerning
their children, but in household finances, investments, the family’s social life and a host of other issues. Women
now aspire to be "chief household officer", the center of the family unit, and also have aspirations based on their
own desires, rather than simply serving up what’s expected of them.

The perception of daughters is slowly beginning to evolve away from paraaya dhan(outsiders who don’t really
belong). Between legal amendments that allot equal rights of inheritance to daughters and the societal downsizing
of the family unit, daughters are slowly being given the same place as sons in many families. In their education
and career, daughters are now encouraged to explore and become independent. Many mothers whose dreams
were stifled in their youth stand firmly behind their daughters’ aspirations. The Commonwealth Games
2010 showcased a slew of female gold medalists from small-town or even rural India, whose sporting aspirations
had been nurtured and encouraged by their families.

The New Age man


Habituated to families in which the fathers were typically distant, overtly critical, hands-off with their children and
handled with kid gloves by their wives, urban men are going through an identity crisis in the redefined family. Their
role in the household is oftentimes no longer that of the sole provider. Wives are expecting more from their
husbands as fathers, in performing household chores, in terms of companionship and sharing, and even sexually.

Urban men themselves now want different things out of life. A desire for balance, for rich family time, has started
creeping in. The need to connect with their children on an individual level as opposed to the traditionally defined
familial role has become more important. Further, men are moving out of the parental home earlier for higher
education or work. As a result, the traditional apron strings are getting cut, and men are gradually learning to
become more self-sufficient in basic home management.

The rearranged marriage


Marriages in India are undergoing a change, from merely providing defined roles for the two cohabitants to a
relationship that demands companionship, compatibility and even romance. Women have very different
expectations from their marriages than their mothers had. Indian women are putting off getting married or looking
for a more equal relationship, being more vocal about boredom in the bedroom and much more. Men are willy-nilly
being forced to adapt to the new demands made on them.

If the advent of marriage counselors and rising divorce rate are anything to go by, the Indian marriage is changing,
and how! Whereas earlier the purpose of marriage was to support the existing family unit and procreate, a growing
number of couples today is choosing not to have children. The focus of the marriage increasingly is the relationship
between the two individuals.

Joint-family redux
With the arrival of children, nuclear families are returning to the joint-family formation. Working couples move
back in with one set of parents to have someone from the family supervise the upbringing of kids. However, the
expectations of both the older and the younger couple are no longer those long dictated by tradition. Both the older
generation and the younger one find themselves going through a phase of readjusting to being in each other's
spaces and accommodating each other's preferences all over again.

Interaction between the two generations also shows an upswing once the younger generation has children, even
when the family is a nuclear unit. A renewed appreciation of the older generation and a desire to hang onto and
pass on some of the cultural traditions and family heritage (though not necessarily the family structure) create a
fresh bond between generations.

New types of families


With the growing number of nuclear families, people in cities are beginning to develop improvised family networks,
be it on social, spiritual, religious or other common grounds. Social networks, online and offline communities and
support groups are springing up to create modern extended families.

Changing government regulations have also eased the path of reconfigured family units by allowing single women
or gay couples to adopt children or have surrogate children, recognising long-term live-in relationships as being
"like marriage" and easing the rules for divorce. The family unit as a network of blood ties will in the future be just
one among many family models.

Future forward
Lifestage orientation: With women pursuing new dreams, they are likely to push marriage to a relatively later
stage and remain single longer. Parenthood may come at a more mature age for men and women, and bring a
different perspective. With the youth moving out for jobs earlier than ever before, they will become home
managers in a different way. These changes will make lifestage segmentation more relevant than age-oriented
segmentation.

From gender orientation to role orientation: Stereotyping men and women will go out of style. Men are less
likely to shy away from exhibiting their emotional side.

The rearranged marriage: There will be an increased demand for support services that make life easier for
nuclear families — household and other chores, childcare support, concierge services, etc. Self-actualisation will
become a priority for married men and women, each in their own way.

The little voice: Children will find independence at an early age, whether they want it or not, and their voice will
impact all family decisions, including purchase decisions.

The young consumers: Disposable incomes in the hands of young consumers, some of them still living with their
parents, will affect the way families and individuals therein look at their money, spending and savings.

Midlifers prepare for old age: Having witnessed the plight of their parents, Midlifers desire and work toward
planning for a self-sufficient old age.

Healthcare and safety for seniors: Convenient healthcare, safety aids and day-to-day support will be the prime
needs of seniors who are unprepared for the solitude that life has thrown their way.

Single parenting: Daycare centers and other forms of support for single people raising children are going to
become increasingly important in urban India.

There was a lot of closeness, but at the same time there was an unspoken division between the elder members and
the younger members of the family. We were never encouraged to oppose anything that my grandparents said —
their words were the unwritten law and were to be strictly followed, right or wrong!
Kiran, staff writer, Factoidz.com | 27 October 2010

There is ... a huge change in attitude toward girls, with the number of children in any family coming down.
Families sometimes have only one or two girls. I do not say that it is newfound love for daughters but realization of
an opportunity to share parental wealth among all children independent of gender.
K. Ramachandran, associate dean, Indian School of Business, UPenn.edu/India | 5 November 2009

Marriages in India are now more complicated because, today, a marriage is regarded as a 'relationship' rather
than an 'institution'. This means it is now more important that a couple is compatible, that the marriage fulfils the
need for companionship.
Gitanjali Prasad, The Great Indian Family: New Roles, Old Responsibilities (Penguin India) |
10.27.2010

According to an Ingene survey conducted among urban youth, 76% of the respondents thought it was
important that their family thinks they are doing well.
Ingene.Blogspot.com | 10.9.2009

A bill proposed by the Indian government could soon make surrogate parenthood legal for everyone regardless
of whether they are part of a legally married heterosexual couple. The draft Assisted Reproductive Technology
Regulation Bill 2010 (ART) provides for surrogate parenthood for single persons and unmarried couples from India
and abroad.
Hindustan Times | 6.21.2010

The Indian government recently approved of new laws making the process of divorce a little easier, by adding
"irretrievable breakdown of marriage" to the existing grounds for divorce.
Mail Today | 6.11.2010

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Young urban Indians from mixed cultural backgrounds are choosing their surnames
differently. Most often double-barrelled, the names are an indication of their noble or royal
antecedents, but also a determination of their parents to have both their names in their
child's official papers.
• Last names in India are completely defying traditional caste designated roles and
taking on a multicultural hue. It is no longer uncommon to see a child with a surname that
originates in two opposite corners of India (Times of India, 29 November 2009).
• This is also an offshoot of women retaining their maiden name after marriage and
hyphenating it with their husband's name. Teenagers, too, are keen on having their mother's
and father's name to their identity.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• The concept of the father being the family patriarch, and his surname being the
definator of the childrens' lineage is soon becoming obsolete, especially in urban India.
• The modern urban Indian woman retains her individual identity after her marriage and
passes it on to her children. It is also an attempt to give identity to the various fragmented
parts of their lives.

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• The popularity of spas offering treatments like Swedish massages and foot reflexology
has skyrocketed among women in India, especially housewives, working women and
youngsters in metropolitans.
• No longer does a trip to the salon include a simple wax, cut and color routine. Relaxing
spa treatments are included on a regular basis.
• Spas have a wider reach today with more neighborhood beauty salons trying to tap
into the movement and turn themselves into 'Spalons' (TimesOfIndia.com, 08.09.10).
• Spa culture is no longer only a prerogative of the rich and famous in India. Chains like
VLCC are helping the activity become more mainstream.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• With increasing disposable incomes, urban Indian women have no qualms about
spending money on luxury products.
• Life is stressful for Indian women, who nowadays have more than just their homes to
take care of. They're not shying away from indulging in luxurious treats.
ndia has 71 million Internet users, of whom 52 million are considered "active" users (accessing the Internet at
least once a month), according to the 2010 I-Cube ("Internet in India") report of the Internet & Mobile Association
of India (IAMAI) and the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB). Women comprise 10% of Internet users.

nitially there was lot of shyness among Indian women about their inner wear so they never used to discuss it but
the modern Indian woman has come out of the cocoon. They are demanding comfort in their lingerie and hence
experimenting with different lingerie styles too.
Women travelers now have an exclusive women's-only club called Women on Wanderlust (WOW) set up by an
Indian woman to help them travel in comfort, safety and style all by themselves. "I have been traveling like a
nomad, through the years and finally, when the time was right, I decided to put my energy and my passion
together and start a club that would allow other women to experience the sheer thrill and magic of travel."

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Traveling solo is on the rise for Indian women across age groups. Holidays with the
family are still the norm in India, but women's travel clubs like Women on Wanderlust
(WOW), Women on Clouds, and Duchess Club Chennai have started making an appearance
in the country.
• “It was very difficult explaining to my family that I needed to get away from being just
a mum, just a wife,” said Women on Wanderlust traveler Aparna (Business
Standard 6.25.10). Aparna has been with WOW travel club on trips to Greece, Istanbul,
Egypt and Bhutan.
• WOW organizes about 25 trips a year. Women can bring friends along, but no men.
Husbands, boyfriends, fathers, etc. are a no-no.
• Other women's independent travel options popping up include Back N Beyond Travels,
a motorcycle touring company set up by Moksha, India's first professional motor-biking
woman. The group offers itineraries for motorcycling around India (WomenTravelBlog.com
3.20.10).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Indian women are (sometimes slowly) embracing their independence and freedom,
even in the sphere of travel. They're also embracing any opportunity to take "me time" away
from family and other demands.
• It's not just about harried moms. Irrespective of age or responsibilities, there's a
growing sense among urban women that their independence needs to be nurtured.

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Many women in urban India are postponing marriage to pursue other ambitions or to
search out 'equal partners', especially ones who won't expect them simply to become uni-
faceted wives.
• 'Earlier, the average age of the girls registering for marriage was 18 to 23. Now it is 23
to 26, maybe more. Girls want to accomplish milestones in their careers before settling down
for marriage,' said Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO, BharatMatrimony.com (The
Hindu 1.25.10).
• “More single women are now coming forward to invest in real estate. About 15 to 20%
of all inquiries we get are from women, and almost half of these are unmarried," said R.K.
Mittal, CMD of CHD Developers.
• The Times of India, India's leading English newspaper, has launched Times Equality
Matrimonials for prospective brides who believe in equal marriage. Another leading
matrimonial website, SimplyMarry.com promotes a similar concept, calling it Hum=Tum.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• With more women living by themselves as singles for longer, values of safety,
freedom, independence and self-expression reign.
• Categories long-considered primarily relevant to married couples now target some
singles. Think real estate, insurance, furniture and furnishings, durables and kitchen
appliances.

WHAT'S HAPPENING
For Indian women working outside the home, life is increasingly stressful. Managing long hours
at work with household responsibilities and childcare continues to be “a woman’s problem.”
Throw elders into the mix, and it gets worse. This is why the traditionally submissive daughter-
in-law is turning the tables on in-laws and saying “enough.” The fact is that there are few
options and little help available for eldercare — or childcare, for that matter. It’s not very
surprising that, squeezed by multiple demands, the Indian woman is finally saying “no” where a
decade ago she would have meekly agreed.

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Indian women had better wake up and smell the sugarfree... or better still, hit the
gym. British medical journal, The Lancet, says Indian women seem to be getting fatter by
the decade while, paradoxically, the men are getting better at keeping their weight down.
• The Lancet found that Indian women were twice as likely to be obese than Indian men
(Times of India, 5 February 2011).
• At the end of 2008, eight million women in India were reported to be obese with a
body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 as compared to 4.4 million men.
• While 1.3% of women — aged 20 and above — were obese in 1980, the prevalence
had increased to 2.5% in the next 28 years. Among men, however, it stayed static during
the same period at 1.3%, according to a study comparing BMI increase in 199 countries.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Changes in lifestyle, eating habits, combined with urban stress and rise in the
incidence of eating out have all contributed to the weight gain epidemic among Indian
women.
• Women also don't tend to give much time to themselves to keep themselves fit and
healthy. Other priorities such as career, care for family be it children or seniors, tend to take
precedence over women's personal health. This is also a cultural expectation of women
wherein their caring, nurturing roles must come before everything else.

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Western wear has become an integral part of urban Indian womens' dressing style.
And the one article of clothing that's pervaded the wardrobes of women across age groups
and pop strata? Jeans. Women are now frequently seen sporting denim on a variety of
occasions, ranging from everyday dress to office wear and parties.
• A recent survey conducted by Kellogg’s Special K brand covering 7,500 women
between 18 and 55 years old, across 15 markets including India found that most Indian
women (95%) prefer jeans because they are comfortable. 87% say they feel confident in
them. 55% own jeans that are the correct size (Stratedgy,Hindustan Times, 27 September
2010).
• Levi’s recently launched their Red Tab Slim Jeans that have been designed to with the
Indian woman’s figure in mind (Afaqs.com, 18 April 2010).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• As women adopt multiple roles and responsibilities, they shape their personalities
based on new benchmarks and create new aspirations for themselves.
• With women expanding the number of activities they fit into their day – at home and at
work, apart from the ‘look good’ factor, comfort and convenience are emerging as strong
values in the context of apparel and dressing.

Though I am a working woman, I will put my home and kids before my work. That’s the way most Indian women
are. I don’t feel bad about that and I am sure other women also don’t find it dreadful.
Gautami Kapoor, DNAIndia.com | 31 May 2010

Kingfisher calendar and the Elite was our biggest break, since then we have been approached by a lot of 35-plus
women who had stopped going to the swimming pool, possibly because their current swimsuit styles didn't flatter
their body type. Or they wanted something different than the Speedos and other brands that their daughters wore.
Shrivan Bhatia and Naresh Kukreja, NIFT graduates, have launched the first luxury beach wear specially designed
for Indian women.
Express News Service | 11 June 2010

Dr Shaifali Sandhya, author of Love will Follow, says the "Indian marriage is burning." Her research shows that
80-85% of divorces are initiated by women. Of the 400 married people, age 22-55, that she interviewed for her
book, about one-third said they were unhappy with their sex lives.
Times of India | 22 November 2009

Hair Colour was primarily used to cover grey hair till the late '80s. In the last decade, it's emerged as
a style statement. The Indian woman was bored with black and dark brown hair, tempted with the
influx of new shades such as copper, blond, honey and burgundy.

Women are at the vanguard of the wine revolution. A clear majority of all wine purchases in India
(around 60%) are made by women. They decide what wines get bought, and their palates determine
the contours of the wine business in India.

Vir Sanghvi, WineWomenAndWit.com3 August 2010

Women used to start with the lowest expectations. Now they are demanding more physically, sexually
and financially.

Ranjana Kumari, author of Brides Are Not for Burning and the director of the Centre for Social Research, a women's
support group based in Delhi, Independent.co.uk 22 April 2008

Initially there was lot of shyness among Indian women about their inner wear so they never used to discuss it but
the modern Indian woman has come out of the cocoon. They are demanding comfort in their lingerie and hence
experimenting with different lingerie styles too.
Nandini Sethuraman, Marketing Head, Mars and Spencer's, IANS

India has 71 million Internet users, of whom 52 million are considered "active" users (accessing the Internet at
least once a month), according to the 2010 I-Cube ("Internet in India") report of the Internet & Mobile Association
of India (IAMAI) and the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB). Women comprise 10% of Internet users.
WATBlog.com | 6 April 2010

Women travelers now have an exclusive women's-only club called Women on Wanderlust (WOW) set up by an
Indian woman to help them travel in comfort, safety and style all by themselves. "I have been traveling like a
nomad, through the years and finally, when the time was right, I decided to put my energy and my passion
together and start a club that would allow other women to experience the sheer thrill and magic of travel."
Sumitra, Founder of WOW, Wowsumitra.com | 6 August 2010
Indian women don’t even post their own profiles on matrimonial sites; their fathers and brothers do. So, I can’t
imagine Indian women posting their profiles on a dating site, and to have a successful dating site, you need to
have women.
Gaurav Mishra of the MSL Group, a division of marketing company Publicis Groupe, on the obstacles
facing Western-style dating websites in India, NYTimes.com | 19 February 2011

MARKET FACT
Indian women are joining the workforce in greater numbers than ever:
from less than 1% to 15% in just one decade. In today’s India, a
woman’s earning power is increasingly seen as a more valuable asset
than her culinary skills.
Guardian | 14 April 2007

Several Indian women are included in Forbes list of world's 100 most powerful women. Pepsico chief Indra Nooyi is
in sixth place, Axis Bank chief executive Shikha Sharma is 89th and ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kocchar is
92nd place.
AsianAge.com | 7 October 2010

MARKET FACT
According to a Nielsen/Kaya Skin Clinic survey of highly educated
Indian women, less than 9% think of going to a gym or doing yoga or
aerobics to maintain their figure. Some walk in order to keep fit, but
most respondents said they keep a watch on calories by eating smaller
meals or skipping meals.
TheHindu.com | 28 January 2010

A four-metro national survey by Nielsen and Kaya Skin Clinic reveals that affluent urban Indian women are ready
to buy beauty. More than 90% of respondents related beautiful skin with confidence, and said they were willing to
pay whatever the price to have glowing skin.
TheHindu.com | 28 January 2010

MARKET FACT
Earlier, female patients came to me only with their complaints. They
still do, but increasingly their concern is shifting to knowing and
exploring more about themselves. Finally, Indian women are realizing
that their sexuality is not just defined by the men in their lives.
Dr. Rajan Bhosle, Times of India | 22 November 2009

According to the 2011 Kuoni India holiday report, Indians, especially women, like to dress their part and look their
best even while relaxing abroad. Indians dress to kill even on a holiday, in contrast to their Western counterparts,
who tend to go casual.
DNAIndia.com | 23 February 2011
The Indian consumer, especially the woman, is rapidly evolving; she has more tasks in hand in addition to cooking.
For this reason, we wanted to revitalize the brand to drive growth and shift from being focused only on South
India, to using market support and product innovation and becoming a pan-India brand.
Vikran Sabherwal, VP marketing, MTR Foods Ltd., on the company's line of ready-to-eat
products, FranchiseIndia.com| 14 December 2010

More Indian women find themselves in positions of power

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• India has more women in powerful roles today than ever before in history. Women are
making their mark across fields, in banking and finance, biotech, advertising and media,
cinema and sports.
• Women are also beginning to take over family businesses, a deviation from the cultural
norm of bequeathing family inheritances to sons or sons-in-law. Roshni Nadar (of HCL
Technologies), Laxmi Venu (of TVS Motor), Devita Saraf (of Zenith computers) and Divya
Modi (Spice Group) have famously taken over their family businesses.
• Strong women protagonists have also become a feature of Bollywood movies,
including Jodhaa Akbar, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Aaja Nachle, Fashion, Love Aaj Kal,
and Kaminey.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Women have become a strong target segment in terms of consumption power and
decision making. Products, services and categories inspired by their lives and needs are
coming into the marketplace.
• Woman-oriented brands can choose from a wide number of role models to represent
their project or message.

Women hold 5% of board postions in top Indian companies

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• While women have made strides toward equality in the workplace, gender differences
at the highest rungs of the corporate ladder remain.
• A recent study in cooperation with nonprofit Community Business and Cranfield School
of Management looked at the top 100 companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange and found
that out of the total 1,112 director positions, a mere 5%, are held by women
(EconomicTimes.IndiaTimes.com, 17 September 2010).
• As a result of the study, Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) has called
for an increase of female representation on boards.
• SCOPE Director General U.D. Choubey says they have been a champion for workplace
equality since 2000, and the renewed push makes sense "In light of the changing
international best practices and steady increase in number of professionally qualified women
entering into PSEs," (EconomicTimes.IndiaTimes.com, 22 September 2010).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• A new generation of Indian women is entering the workforce with high expectations
and top-notch skills. And they're challenging the outdated assumption that women are less
capable or ambitious than men.
• Gender equality in the workplace is a win-win for women and men alike, as satisfied
employees help yield satisfied customers. Leading-edge companies must adapt to provide
more opportunities for Indian women seeking control and freedom in their careers.

Thought waves: Women in India get video-blogging to connect

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Young Indian women from 30 semi-urban towns and small cities are busy digi-
blogging. They are putting forth their thoughts and opinions on issues that concern them
through WAVE, Women Aloud Video Blogging for Empowerment.
• These video blogs have women, from Srinagar in the north to Trivandrum in the south,
talking about gender discrimination, healthcare, social issues and even politics (Better India,
10 February 2011).
• The initiative called for women to apply for the post of video bloggers. Selected women
received training and stipends to work on the project.
• WAVE has created an online library of 175 videos covering semi-urban and rural India.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Women's networks across the country are growing with not-for-profit groups playing a
vital role in sharing women's stories in different cultures and regions to create empathy and
solidarity with causes dear to them.
• Women from the semi-urban and rural areas of India are becoming increasingly
confident about voicing their opinions on various issues, especially if they are encouraged to
do so on a specific platform.

A gymnasium exclusively for women has been set up in Madambakkam near Tambaram in the Indian state of Tamil
Nadu. It is the first women-only gymnasium in the state, and it is free of cost.
TheHindu.com | 17 November 2010

Bollywood divas are most powerful brand ambassadors

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Globalization might be in, but for Indian women, role models still come from
Bollywood. Female actors did 45% of all television endorsements during the first half of
2010, according to TAM-Adex data. In comparison, sports stars only commanded 10% of the
pie (Business-Standard.Com 4.11.10).
• Sony India recently took on Deepika Padukone as brand ambassador for its digital still
camera category, and they're investing Rs 50 crore on marketing activities involving her.
Sony is aiming for a market share of 45% by the end of 2011. Leading actor Kareena Kapoor
endorses Sony Vaio laptops and mobile phones.
• Priyanka Chopra will be the new face of Samsung washing machines while home
appliance company Electrolux has signed Sonam Kapoor as its brand ambassador. Panasonic
aims to “make its brand presence felt” with the help of Katrina Kaif and Dia Mirza.
• Rajnish Sahay, CEO of Percept Talent Management, says that the scales have tipped in
favour of female stars. “Today a Priyanka Chopra or a Katrina Kaif commands the same
value as a Shah Rukh Khan.”

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• More and more, women are making buying decisions in the household and
advertisements are going all out to appeal to their tastes, sensibilities and aspirations.
• Bollywood continues to be the country's premier dream machine. Indian women want
advice from faces that they can relate to, and at some level, hope to be. Familiarity inspires
trust and aspiration.
• A growing number of working women in the country means that women women are no
longer buying just home appliances but also electronics like computers and mobile phones.

Women activists break gender barrier at Kolhapur temple

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Women activists from the political group, BJP Mahila Morcha, stormed into the inner
sanctum of Mahalakshmi temple in Kolahpur in Maharashtra, ending a 2,000-year old
tradition that restricted entry only to men (DNA, 15 April 2011).
• Despite resistance from temple officials and police personnel, 20 women entered the
'garba-griha' (inner sanctum sanctorum), dressed the presiding deity and performed a puja
(worship ritual).
• Their move has prompted the state government into action and the temple's garba-
griha is now officially open to women, who will be allowed to perform the morning 'abhishek'
ritual along with men (Indian Express, 15 April 2011).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• With increasing awareness and education, Indian women are starting to question rules
and laws that discriminate against them on the basis of gender.
• Politicians are waking up to the importance of women as a vote bank and are taking
cognisance of their concerns.
• Women are supposed to stay away from temples when they are menstruating as they
are considered 'unclean' — some temples in India take this to the extreme and ban women
altogether.

Mumbai gets its first women firefighters

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• The brave band of Mumbai's firefighters will now have women on their teams with the
induction of two women firefighters to the Mumbai Fire Brigade.
• Part of the initiative by the municipal corporation to reserve for women 30% jobs in
the department, the two women who made it through the rigorous selection process now
have further training to undergo before they will go out on calls (iDiva, 15 March 2011).
• A total of 35 posts needs to be filled in the fire fighting department. While the Mumbai
police force has its fair representation of the fairer sex, the fire brigade, thus far, has been
an all-male bastion.
• Women will be assigned to operations needing to rescue women. Chennai and
Hyderabad are the only two cities with women firefighters.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• With women as part of firefighting teams, there should be less awkwardness while
dealing with women to be rescued, given that Indian women are reluctant to be helped or
even touched, let alone be carried by men not related to them.

Indians experience the rearranged marriage

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• In traditional joint families, the emotional focus was on parent-child relationships.
That's changing, though. With the uptick in nuclear families, the husband-wife relationship
has become the fulcrum of family relationships. Add women with greater education levels –
some of them with their own careers – to the nuclear family scenario, and you begin to get
a picture of the changing nature of modern marriages in urban India.
• "The consequence of increased education of women and their participation in the
workforce are the woman's higher self-esteem and potential for self-assertion which, in turn,
have led her to demand greater emotional fulfilment in marriage than was the case with
women of an earlier era," Sudhir Kakar (The Times of India, 5 December 2009).
• This shifting gender equation puts new pressures on men, since traditionally their place
in a woman's life was equivalent to that of God (pati parmeshwar).
• "Marriage was historically about families, but couples now want to form their own
unique territory, they’re looking at five things: love and companionship, status, parents,
sexual satisfaction and children’s success. The biggest conflict is about love,” says Dr.
Shaifali Sandhya, author of "Why the Indian Marriage Is Burning," based on her 12 years of
research of 400 Indian couples (Tehelka, 31 October 31 2009).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• While lauding the women for aggressively redefining their lives, don't forget to pat men
on the back for his attempts to adapt/support change, and make his way in a changing
society.
• With traditional markers of machismo being redefined, men need help with acceptable
masculine expressions.

Delhi's urban design needs fixing to keep women safe

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Forget statistics, one has only to pick up the morning paper in India's capital to know
that Delhi can be dangerous for women. A recent study by NGO Jagori, titled ‘Safe City Free
of Violence Against Women and Girls', revealed that women in Delhi face harassment
constantly in urban public spaces (Hindu Business Line, 15 October 2010).
• The study places blame on bad urban planning, in particular poor infrastructure (public
toilets, phone booths, street lighting, etc.) and an inaccessible police force. The city planners
have also done little to improve safety in a host of deserted areas such as parks and
construction sites, says the study.
• Jagori is using the findings of this study to pressure Delhi's civic authorities and urban
planners to fill the gaps and make it a safer city.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Women are spending more time away from home for work and social reasons. This is
posing challenges to Indian society, which has traditionally restricted women's freedom and
autonomy. One such is the design and use of public spaces.
• Designed for car commuters, Delhi's residential and public areas, like markets, tend to
be at a distance, requiring pedestrians to pass through long stretches of unsafe zones.
This demands innovative use of the city's public spaces by ensuring that community and
personal spaces co-exist.

Indian woman prefer sarees, salwars to western wear

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Indian women are still gaga over flowing tresses and flowing clothes. The ethnic wear
market which includes sarees and salwar kameezes with dupattas is estimated to be Rs
45,000 crore ($9.7 million).
• Ethnic wear comprises 70% of the women’s wear market and is likely to grow at 11-
12% annually (Business-Standard.com, 14 February 2011).
• The segment is dominated by unorganised players in bazaars and local shops. Local
brands hold sway over each region. Brands with a pan-India presence include FabIndia, W,
Biba, Anokhi, Bandhej, and Meena Bazaar.
• Retailers such as Westside, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Reliance and Big Bazaar also sell
a variety of ethnic wear: fabric that can be custom-made as well as ready-to-wear outfits.
Often, the ethic wear section is larger and better stocked than the western wear section.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• With more women going to work, ethnic wear is going to be more popular because
women from traditional families are uncomfortable with trousers and salwar kameez and
saree provides a formal alternative.
• Older women, particularly, feel more comfortable in ethnic wear that is considered
suitable for all body types.
• Ethic wear comes in a variety of materials, including sheer cotton (comfortable to wear
in hot weather).
• As women feel the urge to also adopt western fashions, Indo-Western designs will
become increasingly popular. Traditional designs combined with hip cuts are already big in
major cities.

Group of affluent Indian women drink to wine appreciation club

WHAT'S HAPPENING
A community of women in India are geared up to “revolutionize” wine-drinking. Traditionally,
“proper” Indian women do not drink alcohol — leaving that to men and women of questionable
repute. Wine, Women and Wit wants to change that mindset; one if its main messages is that
“drinking wine will not turn people into alcoholics” (TheHindu.com 5.1.10).

W3 brings together some of India’s most influential women to develop and explore a taste for
wine. Its members include journalists, food writers, actors, businesspeople and homemakers. In
addition to teaching and learning about wine, members organize lifestyle events that feature
the beverage. The women appreciate the “kitty party” atmosphere of such get-togethers. (Kitty
parties are known as “hen parties” and “girls night out” in other markets.)

The club started in December 2009 in Mumbai, and there are plans to expand to other cities.
The invitation-only Rose level costs Rs50,000 (over $1,000) for six months, and Sparkling is
half that. The recently introduced Berry membership is Rs5,000 and is meant to appeal to
middle-class women.

What This Means to Business

• Wine is emerging as the drink of choice for people of the affluent classes. And
whatever the wealthy are drawn to is sure to trickle down to the middle classes.
• Women, especially, are drawn to wine because it’s considered to be sophisticated and
refreshing, unlike harder liquors.
• Indian women are starting and joining communities where they can explore different —
even taboo — tastes in a safe space and share their experiences with like-minded others.
Indian women want trendy unmentionables as much as their American counterparts, according to
Reportlinker.com’s latest research. Growing income levels and changing lifestyles are shifting Indian consumers’
spending habits. Translation: lingerie makes the leap from function to fashion, at least in the urban centers.
BNet.com | 2010-13-10

Indian women are more comfortable with showing off their cleavage and back than their legs. Plunging necklines
also differ from body to body type. The Indian audience is ready to accept such show of style and glamour only in
the glamour world. Otherwise it warrants wrong attention and gives out the wrong signals.
Designer Anita Dongre, Times of India | 7 October 2010

Indian companies make it easier for working mums to stay or come back to work

WHAT'S HAPPENING
Finding family life difficult to manage when both parents work, more Indian women, including
highly educated ones with lucrative jobs, are dropping out of the workforce. But major
companies, hungry for skilled workers, are trying to woo them back.

One of them, Tata and Sons, is actively recruiting women through a campaign called Tata
Second Career. To be eligible, female professionals must have worked in the field for four
continuous years before taking a break of one to eight years.

Newer IT companies, like Infosys and Wipro, want to retain their female employees and
maintain a balanced male-to-female ration. To encourage working mothers to stay, they offer
on-site creche (daycare) facilities and lactation centers, longer maternity leaves (increasing
them from six months to one year), flex-time, work from home, and easy relocation — in case
her husband has to move to a new city (EconomicTimes.com 12.11.09).

What This Means for Business

• Most Indian women, if torn between work and family, will choose the latter. Businesses
are cognizant of this reality and are starting to make it easier for valuable employees to stay
on the job.
• Young parents appreciate this work flexibility which, in turn, may make them more
loyal to their employers.

People finding new paths to fulfillment through an uncanny native intelligence combined with an
intuitive understanding of paradigm-shifting perspectives, skills, and insights.

 Evolutionariessm are truly a new hybrid of leaders. These business and societal shakers are armed with native
intelligence, which is the key to their DNA.

 Evolutionaries use the corporate landscape as an exhilarating proving ground. They thrive by turning adversity
into advantage.

 Evolutionaries are agents of balance as well as change. Their native intelligence drives decisions to positively
enhance the body, mind, and soul of their family, community, organization, and world.

Primary schools in India disapprove of working mothers


WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Working mothers in India face trouble from many quarters, including their children’s
schools. Most schools frame policies assuming that mothers are full-time homemakers.
Parents claim that some schools do not even consider children of working mothers for
admission.
• Schools expect mothers (not fathers) to be very involved in their children’s education
— to the point of attending meetings and events during work hours. Mothers are expected to
make elaborate costumes, attend performances, volunteer for field trips, and occasionally
cook food for the classroom.
• Seema Kohli (not her real name), 32, is a media planner with an advertising agency. A
school principal asked her point blank whether the money she earned justified leaving her
child in the care of others during the child’s formative years. Naturally, her child wasn’t
admitted in that school. Having learned her lesson, she lied and put herself down as a
homemaker for the next round of school admissions (WomensWeb.in, 14 September 2010).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• As women become economically independent, there is backlash from many quarters
about their changing identity. This reaction will take time to settle down. But in the
meantime, women have to juggle many roles with skill and diplomacy.
• Schools in India are not above playing moral guardian and admitting or denying
admission based on whether they approve of the family’s lifestyle. Single mothers used to be
viewed with suspicion; now it’s working mothers.

Indian women start being more vocal about boredom in the bedroom

WHAT'S HAPPENING
The urban Indian marriage is in flux, and the effects are showing up in the bedroom in terms of
boredom, lack of sex and an increase in depression among women. Some attribute this to a
half-baked sexual revolution in which couples are challenging traditional roles but do not yet
have the necessary awareness to deal with problems successfully. Others say that women are
becoming more aware of their needs via women’s magazines and websites like iDiva.

According to Mumbai sexologist Dr. Prakash Kothari, things have changed drastically since he
began his practice 36 years ago, when a woman would never complain about sexual
dissatisfaction.

"But now women know that sexual right is a basic right. It is not like they were not unhappy
earlier, but now they're voicing their concerns. I get about 150 to 200 complaints every day,"
he says. He also suggests that Indian women are sexually unhappy because most Indian men
"use their partners as sleeping pills." He points out that many couples haven't slept together for
years, or may never have slept together at all (TimesOfIndia.com 11.22.09).

What This Means to Business

• As women become more aware of their sexual needs, they will exercise greater agency
in buying products of certain kinds, especially those that have previously been considered
taboo, such as contraceptives, sex toys and feminine hygiene products.
• As Indians become more sexually aware and open, clinics and other establishments
dealing with sexual problems are likely to be in demand.

Single pleasures: Indian women develop a taste for single malt whiskies
WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Savouring the golden body of a classy single malt has traditionally been a preserve of
men in India. It is what separated the men from the boys and women were not even invited.
As Indian women get increasingly cosmopolitan in their tastes and outlook, this age-old ritual
is witnessing a change in the gender of its disciples.
• Today women, especially in urban India, not only treasure their private collections of
single malts but add to them during their trips abroad and by asking friends for single malts
as gifts.
• Single malt clubs like Oak League in Mumbai create an exclusive atmosphere in which
like-minded women can indulge themselves without having to battle tradition (Sunday
Express Magazine, 27 March 2011).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• A taste for single malts would tie in with the wish of the young, urban, upwardly
mobile Indian woman for the de luxe lifestyle, a wish more easily expressed and gratified
with the arrival of luxury brands (and single malts) in Indian stores.
• Single malt whiskies are perceived as being social rather than party drinks, ideal for a
convivial evening with congenial company. Single malt drinkers' clubs and the lifestyle they
engender make the most of this desire for exclusivity and distinction.
I have noticed that for Indian women a bag is a lot more about acquisition than aesthetics, therefore the
clamouring for a Louis Vuitton or a Pucci.
Designer Meera Mahadevia, EconomicTimes.IndiaTimes.com |1 November 2010

MARKET FACT
The value "youth" ranked as the 4th most-prominent value among
Indian men, while stacking up as only the 33rd most-prominent value
among Indian women.
Iconoculture Quant Analyzer | W1-2010

MARKET FACT
In a study by Tata Hospital, 86% of Indian women were exposed to
cervical cancer simply due to chronic neglect towards hygiene and
infections of reproductive organs.
Indiwo.com | 1 March 2007

MARKET FACT
Thanks to extended family and inexpensive daycare options, childcare
issues drag down the career dreams of Indian women to a far lesser
degree than for their Western counterparts. But care of
elders might put the brakes on their careers, according to a study by
the Centre for Work-Life Policy. 94% of women in India are
responsible for their parents and in-laws.
TimesofIndia.IndiaTimes.com | 15 September 2010

MARKET FACT
The measures of daughterly guilt are much higher in Indian women
than in the West. And since taking care of elderly parents usually
becomes a reality later in their careers, it takes them out of the
workplace just when they should be entering management roles.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president of the Center for Work-Life
Policy, Businessweek.com | 3 March 2011

MARKET FACT
Once considered a male garment, the blazer is slowly making its way
into Indian women's closets.
TimesofIndia.IndiaTimes.com | 26 February 2011

More than one-fourth of our clients are women, especially the working women. it's a reflection of financial
independence. Vivek Pahwa, the head of SecondShaadi.com, a marriage bureau for second-timers has a portal
aimed at India's internet-using divorcees, widows and widowers. He was referring to a growing number of Indian
women joining the workforce who he says refuse to remain trapped in unwanted marriages.
CNN.com
| 10 June 2010

Women take stock, gawk, at male stars

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Women are hungry for eye candy and TV producers are responding by asking leading
men to show more skin (Business-Standard.com, 11 September 2010).
• Catering to women's wants isn't new to the small or silver screens, but entertainment
has traditionally relied on the male gaze to win over viewers of both genders. Now, rising TV
ratings corresponding to dudes dropping their drawer suggest that the female gaze has
arrived.
• Bare chests and beefy innuendo in popular shows like Rang Badalti Odhani, Laagi
Tujhse Lagan and Geet Hui Sabse Parayee have shown that the less these leading men cover
up, the more women viewers tune in.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Objectification gets a dose of levity when it goes both ways. Here's looking at you,
dude.
• Empowered, confident Indian women are breaking glass ceilings of yore and their
entertainment expectations are no exception.

THE SQUEEZED MIDDLE

WHAT'S HAPPENING
In between retirement age and childhood lies the “sandwich generation” — an ever-dwindling cohort of active
working adults squeezed in the middle of multiple responsibilities. Countries like India and Russia might see a
numerical increase in their active working population, but as lifestyles change, their financial and emotional burden
will rise disproportionately. Even those who have chosen to remain child-free may still have to take care of their
parents and grandparents. As the world ages, the dependency ratio — the number of those too young or old to
work, compared to the number of working-age people — grows ever larger. This trend speaks to the multiple crisis
points of a segment that is not only proportionally smaller in size, but is in dire need of coping mechanisms and
organized support.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
Unsqueeze the middle. Develop and market your products and services so that they tap into the values of security,
convenience and affordability. This active population is working long hours, providing for their families and
multitasking to the extreme. Reward them. Embrace them. And provide them with options that help them take
care of their loved ones and simplify their lives.

Haryana's brides demand a toilet in exchange for their hand in marriage

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• One of the starkest stereotypes of village life — the villager holding a jug of water and
heading to the fields to relieve himself — has been on the verge of change for some years
now. One of the innovative campaigns drawing the attention of society to the lack of
adequate sanitation came in 2009 with the 'No Toilet, No Bride' campaign in Haryana, after
which 1.4 million toilets were built.
• Women in Haryana's villages pledged to not marry a man if he could not promise a
toilet and bathroom in the house. Linking marriage and the need for better sanitation
facilities seems to have worked where previous campaigns along similar lines failed.
• Rural Indian women are increasingly taking charge. The girls' parents are also
supporting them in their decisions (WashingtonPost.com, 19 October 2009).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• About 665 million people in India, about almost half of all Indians, lack access to clean
toilets (in many cases, any toilet at all). In rural areas, villagers used the fields for morning
ablutions or use community-built toilets.
• Lack of facilities is especially inconvenient for women, who often wake up very early to
find a quiet place in the fields. Rural women are far more aware, and are using innovative
ways to demand their rights. The dwindling male-female ratio has also meant that there are
more eligible bachelors for a limited number of prospective brides. This puts the women in
demand.

Women seek equal partnerships in marriage and society

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Courtships in arranged marriages these days find city girls asking tough questions of
potential partners, from how close they want to live to their parents to if they'll expect their
wife to work. So says leading matrimonial website Bharatmatrimony.com (November 2010).
• A leading national daily introduced "Equality Matrimonials," classified matrimonial ads
for people looking for an equal partner, in terms of footing in the marriage. “This space
rejects the conventional thinking of a woman playing second fiddle to her husband and
regards marriage as a true partnership placing both people are on an equal footing",
the Times of India said.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Women are increasingly seeking a greater sense of freedom and control over their own
lives.
• Wives — and women in general — are growing more confident in their ability to
demand what they want and get it.

Rural women become radio jockeys


WHAT'S HAPPENING
• A new communication revolution is taking place in the rural parts of north Indian state,
Uttar Pradesh. The state has recently got its first community radio station, Lalit Lokvani, a
collaborative effort of Unicef and the NGO, Sai Jyoti Gramodyog Seva Sansthan.
• Launched in September 2010, this community radio station has employed rural women
as radio jockeys. Young girls, housewives and grandmothers are all part of the 12-member
radio jockey team who go on air every day to talk to women about issues concerning them.
• This is a revolution considering these are girls and women who were not allowed to
step out of the house without a male escort, owing to cultural reasons (Better India, 21
January 2011).
• The radio shows with focused scripts, usually written with women in mind, are aired in
the local Bundelkhandi dialect.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Rural women are being empowered to communicate with the community about topics
of relevance to women's health and empowerment.
• Using women from within the community to speak about such relevant issues helps
them reach out better to those looking for advice or the right information.

Evolving gender roles up stress for consumers

WHAT'S HAPPENING
• Equipped with education and ambition, India’s young, independent women are leaving
the homestead behind as set out to prove that they are second to no man whether it comes
to paychecks, career achievements or social skills.
• This mismatch of expectations is leading to increasing stress and conflict in modern
relationships and marriages. (iDiva.com 11.9.10)
• The daily life of the Indian female is changing. The Indian male has not adjusted to this
change in gender dynamics and men tend to feel overshadowed, and even threatened, by
the success of their mates or potential mates.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


• Parents today raise their daughters to be individualistic, ambitious career women;
unlike in generations past where they were taught to put their families’ needs ahead of
theirs.
• On the flip side, sons are still brought up with in the age-old, stereotypical fashion to
believe that they are meant to be the providers and frontrunners. Therein lies the root of the
conflict.

More women in India delay childbearing

WHAT'S HAPPENING
Opportunities have boomed in India. More women are career-focused, and the growing
availability of middle-class amenities has made a double income essential to many families who
want a comfortable life. As a result, more couples are delaying children. Earlier, 30 was
considered the latest age by which one must have a child. But now it’s common for people to
wait until they pass 35 to start families. What this essentially means is that young adulthood is
extended and enjoyed, and more couples are reluctant to end this phase and cross over into
midlife. Many say they are not sure that they even want to have children (The Hindu 11.24.08)
According to gynecologists, an increasing number of urban women are delaying childbearing
until after age of 35, even if that means they'll need a little costly medical help
(DNAIndia.com 2.18.08).
WORK-SCHOOL-LIFE JUGGLING ACT

WHAT'S HAPPENING
What are families around the world looking for today? Probably some combination of happiness, relaxation and
sanity. Highly competitive and hyper-accelerated lifestyles create new expectations and challenges for parents,
who are struggling to find a balance between pleasure and obligations related to work or running a household. That
more women are in the workforce, which has led to a redefinition of gender roles, is one key factor driving the
quest for family-work equilibrium. But parents are not alone in this balancing act: Today's kids are as busy as mom
and dad, running from one activity to the next and being pressured to do well in all of them.

How do families manage? First, couples are planning for children differently than in the past. Some have kids later
in life, limit themselves to the nuclear or “triangular” family (two parents and one child), move closer to other
family members or extend the kids' school day. Today's families also strive for a more equal distribution of
household responsibilities and tasks. Overloaded families also outsource domestic tasks by hiring nannies,
housekeepers and chauffeurs, particularly in emerging economies where a wide wage disparity exists between
middle-class and low-income consumers. And where labor is scarce or expensive, parents use technology to their
advantage by telecommuting, shopping online or monitoring their kids by webcam. Finally, all over the world,
young families’ resources go to one thing above all others: convenience, convenience, convenience ... in products,
services and life.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


As families work harder, it can also get harder to capture and keep their attention with marketing messages. On
the other hand, consumers seeking work-family balance are even more open to relevant products and services that
make an emotional connection and acknowledge their specific needs, wants and feelings, like the desire for
balance, togetherness and convenience.
• Get in the working-family mindset. Give them ways to simplify, collaborate and plan ahead. Develop
products and services that stand for practicality and ease of use.
• Remove obstacles that may prevent working parents, family groups or super-busy couples from using
your product or service. Make weekend hours an option and do away with restrictions. Make them feel welcome.
• Be the "extra hand." When you think about customer service, make sure you're providing for the needs of
harried parents.
• Create marketing messages that are relevant, brief and, if possible, delivered online or on-demand.

WORK-SCHOOL-LIFE JUGGLING ACT

WHAT'S HAPPENING
What are families around the world looking for today? Probably some combination of happiness, relaxation and
sanity. Highly competitive and hyper-accelerated lifestyles create new expectations and challenges for parents,
who are struggling to find a balance between pleasure and obligations related to work or running a household. That
more women are in the workforce, which has led to a redefinition of gender roles, is one key factor driving the
quest for family-work equilibrium. But parents are not alone in this balancing act: Today's kids are as busy as mom
and dad, running from one activity to the next and being pressured to do well in all of them.

How do families manage? First, couples are planning for children differently than in the past. Some have kids later
in life, limit themselves to the nuclear or “triangular” family (two parents and one child), move closer to other
family members or extend the kids' school day. Today's families also strive for a more equal distribution of
household responsibilities and tasks. Overloaded families also outsource domestic tasks by hiring nannies,
housekeepers and chauffeurs, particularly in emerging economies where a wide wage disparity exists between
middle-class and low-income consumers. And where labor is scarce or expensive, parents use technology to their
advantage by telecommuting, shopping online or monitoring their kids by webcam. Finally, all over the world,
young families’ resources go to one thing above all others: convenience, convenience, convenience ... in products,
services and life.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS


As families work harder, it can also get harder to capture and keep their attention with marketing messages. On
the other hand, consumers seeking work-family balance are even more open to relevant products and services that
make an emotional connection and acknowledge their specific needs, wants and feelings, like the desire for
balance, togetherness and convenience.
• Get in the working-family mindset. Give them ways to simplify, collaborate and plan ahead. Develop
products and services that stand for practicality and ease of use.
• Remove obstacles that may prevent working parents, family groups or super-busy couples from using
your product or service. Make weekend hours an option and do away with restrictions. Make them feel welcome.
• Be the "extra hand." When you think about customer service, make sure you're providing for the needs of
harried parents.
• Create marketing messages that are relevant, brief and, if possible, delivered online or on-demand.
MARKET FACT
The problem with second-generation Indians is that they define
themselves largely by opposition to the first. Young girls will not wear
a sari because their mothers do. The humour of most Asian
programmes is essentially rooted in protests of the second generation
against first.
Amit Roy, Indian-born journalist based in London, on Indians
in Britain, PatnaDaily.com | 22 April 2010

The Lost Distinction of Traditional Indian Beauty

December 2010

From voluptuous figures reminiscent of Khajuraho sculptures to today's size 0


aspirations, from ageless beauty like Maharani Gayatri Devi to age-defying beauty, the
notion of beauty amongst women in India is undergoing a redefinition. Global
exposure, the unconventional benchmarks adopted by Bollywood actresses, women’s
changing self-perception and their role within the family are leading to new ideals of
beauty.

Once upon a time…


Female beauty in India has for long been epitomized by leading ladies of the Hindi film industry like Madhubala and
Waheeda Rehman. Their physical attributes? Lustrous long black hair, a voluptuous figure demurely clad in a saree,
kohl-lined eyes.

A strong cultural belief about beauty was that one either had it or she didn't. Makeup could not magically transform
one into a beauty. It could, at best, be used to enhance one's physical features, usually through a variety of
natural cosmetics — kajal (kohl) made from pure ghee in a silver lamp, hair oil, and lip colour made from berries.
Wearing jewellery — bangles, earrings and necklaces, as well as the red dot on one's forehead (bindi) — was also
an integral part of traditional female Indian beauty. ‘Solah shringar’, or 16 beauty rituals, was followed as the
traditional prescription for a woman to beautify herself. One other ingredient often attributed to a beautiful woman
was simplicity.

And health often went hand in hand with the Indian perception of beauty. A healthy body meant a beautiful body —
a woman’s health and genes shone through in the quality of her hair and skin. Popular culture also put great
emphasis on ‘inner beauty’ — an innate goodness that was reflected in one's face and mannerisms. The shy
nature, modesty and coy mannerisms of women of just a few decades ago were part of the beauty they
represented. It was important to be a good person, enough to make one look beautiful.

But the urban Indian woman has come a long way. These attributes belong to another era.

Universalization of the beauty ideal


The new definition of beauty in modern India is a far cry from the conventional one, be it in its physical expression
or in the mental makeup behind it. With the opening up of media, Western ideas have made their way into India
(especially through American TV soaps). The success of Indian women on international beauty platforms, like Miss
World, Miss Universe and more recently Miss Earth, has reinforced the new ideal. Never mind that these women
are groomed and plucked and shaped to cookie-cutter perfection in order to fit into global stereotypes of physical
beauty.

Today, fashion and style emerge from global influences as much as from Bollywood. In fact, Bollywood divas play a
larger role in reaching out to Indian girls in small towns with West-inspired ideas and fashion.

Bollywood actresses are often seen sporting designer wear from the likes of Armani, Versace or Cavalli, and they
make headlines for their diet and exercise regimens (recently, actor Kareena Kapoor's size 0 feat became a
national story). In fact, in the public and entertainment sphere, there is a growing standardization of looks — long,
straight hair; a size 0 or so figure; and designer clothing/accessories. At times, it's now hard to tell an Indian
actress apart from a Hollywood one.

The era of fusion


Indian women's beauty is going through a period of fusion. Women today borrow equally from global and Indian
sources to create their own mix. A slew of beauty and fashion magazines, primarily international publications
like Vogue India, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia andElle, counsel Indian women on beauty, make-up and fashion. Western
wear has become every woman’s wardrobe staple. One can note the change in her personal grooming style, hair
colour and the cosmetics she uses.

Even as Indian women are adapting to global standards of physical beauty, they continue to sustain individuality by
fusing into their look a few distinctly Indian features. These could be in their choice of colours, accessories or
embellishments. Also, gone are the days when Western wear was an indicator of a woman’s modernity. Today, it is
more difficult to discern an Indian woman's outlook or mindset just by her dressing style.

The sexualization of beauty


Indian women are increasingly stepping out of the conventional roles prescribed by society, and they're making
their mark in hitherto male-dominated bastions. The modern Indian woman is confident and prefers to define her
own identity rather than have someone define it for her. Her new-found comfort with her sexuality is symbolic of
this fresh confidence. From an era where beauty ideals seemed to simply exist, and in many cases were hidden
away or downplayed, beauty has now become something that women chase and are happy to put out there as a
message about who they are.

While traditional sarees and lehengas are still worn for special occasions by most women, they, too, have become a
way for women to show off their figures and express their sexuality. The dupatta or the pallu, traditionally meant
to preserve the women’s modesty, has now become an accessory which is artfully draped to draw attention to
one's physical attributes. Blouses have come out of the conventional closet and are now either close as corsets or
have gone backless or come with spaghetti straps to further titillate the imagination. While Western styles for work
remain conservative — typically a collared shirt and trousers — Western wear for leisure hours has gradually gone
sexier.

In pursuit of youth
From a society that has historically revered age and aging, turning back the clock seems to have become the new
beauty goal. It’s not enough to just look good at your age; you have to look younger than your age. Rakhi Sawant
(an infamous reality TV star) famously said in her interview on the celebrity chat show Koffee with Karan: “What
God didn’t give you (in terms of beauty), a doctor can recreate for you.” The Indian beauty landscape is now
dotted with antiaging products, skin clinics, and easy-to-avail-of cosmetic enhancement and surgery options. Gyms
and workouts have also caught the Indian woman’s fancy.

But how much of it is inspired by genuine health concern versus the pursuit of size 0 or youthfulness could be well
argued. Today, if a woman wants, and can afford it, she may never see herself in grey hair or wrinkles or a sagging
body. Growing awareness regarding everyday health management — along with improved healthcare facilities and
better preventive healthcare — also aids the possibility of looking and feeling younger for longer.

What does this mean for the future?


Women's use of these youth-preserving options is revealed in their everyday choices — from what they wear to
what they do and how they do it. The belief that ‘40 is the new 30’ and the dying notion of age-appropriate
clothing/activities are some reflections of this trend.

Midlifers have become an important target audience for all things ‘youthful’, from personal care to hobby activities,
leisure and entertainment. Youthful propositions are no longer relevant just to the young. The saying ‘Age is a
state of mind’ hasn't rung truer than it does today.

As media further blur global boundaries, consumers are likely to move toward a global notion of beauty that's
customized by their cultural identity. This change is likely to permeate pop strata up and down socioeconomic
levels in the country. Aiding this change will be media and Bollywood, both of which cut across cultural boundaries
in India.

Even as the social pressure to look good mounts, teens and youth could be most adversely impacted. Looks, after
all, are an integral part of one’s identity in the growing-up years. India is already seeing a rise in cosmetic surgery
amongst teens.

Overall, the entire notion of beauty, particularly for youth, has moved toward an objectification of beauty so as to
make it both a means and an end. Many young Indian girls view good looks as a stepping stone on the ladder of
success — whether that ladder is toward marriage or career. Where earlier beauty was seen as a gift of nature,
modern Indian women are increasingly getting comfortable with 'manufacturing' beauty for themselves. They are
willing to go the distance, and do whatever it takes, to look good.

India ranks among the top five nations in terms of popularity of cosmetic surgery, including breast augmentation
surgery, in a survey conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Press Trust of India | 2010-08-11