Indian women much more comfortable with their sexuality: Poll

NEW DELHI: Whoever said Indian women were coy? An Outlook-NFO Opinion Poll in the weekly news magazines annual Stree issue on Indian women showed that 52 per cent of Indian urban women are much more comfortable with their sexuality than they were even five years ago. It also revealed that 57 per cent believe that sex is as important to a woman as to a man in a relationship.


The Outlook-NFO poll attempts to unravel some mysteries like - Who is the urban Indian woman? What are her perceptions and attitudes on a whole host of issues sexuality; work environment; marriage and child; motherhood; decision-making and men?

The most important finding of the poll is that the city-bred Indian woman does not fit a stereotype. The poll classifies them in five broad categories or 'clusters' which are:

* The Conservative, who does not question handed-down traditional values.

* The Beginner, who has started to assert herself in the least-resistance areas; 

* The Traditional Modernist, who is opening up to liberal ideas, though rooted in classic mother-wife roles. 

* The Cautious Adventuress, who is emancipated, but remains a conformist sexually.

* The Frontierswoman, who is emancipated and lives life on her own terms.

Some of the interesting findings of the poll are:

* Only 31 per cent of women believe that it is all right for a woman to overtly pursue a man she finds attractive. Except for the Frontierswoman (72 per cent of whom have no problem with this), the others are all uncomfortable with the idea.

* The Frontierswoman, the Cautious Adventuress and the Traditional Modernist feel that a woman can demand that her man satisfy her sexual fantasies. But the Conservative and the Beginner dont.

* While 48 per cent of women believe that a womans career is second to the needs of her family, only 17 per cent agree that ambitious career women are "selfish".

* As much as 71 per cent believe that women can plan their own independent holidays, and 63 per cent are convinced that women need a break once in a while from their families.

* 76 per cent want their husbands to share the household chores and responsibilities with them equally.

* 78 per cent believe that a mothers needs are as important as those of her family.

* 72 per cent believe that a woman has a right to her fathers property.

The poll was conducted in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore and Lucknow. The research methodology was systematic random sampling. Personal, one-on-one interviews were conducted among 1086 respondents, using largely a structured questionnaire. All respondents were women belonging to SEC A1 and A2 households, between 18-40 years - readers of 'English' newspapers.

Responses on 48 attitudinal statements relating to the Indian woman were obtained on a seven-point 'Agree-Disagree' monadic rating scale, seven being 'I completely agree with the statement' and one 'I completely disagree'. The mean scores were then indexed to 10. K-means cluster analysis was used to cluster respondents. Using attitudinal statements as input, five cluster solutions were arrived at, which were mapped on the emancipation continuum.

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