Nearly a fifth of all women are Indian. Where are they going? A book recommendation

Book cover: Half a billion raising
Book cover: Half a billion raising

In India, there live more than 17% of all women in the world. The rate of women below the age of fifteen is even higher: 20%, this corresponds to 174 million young women. Have you ever thought what this could mean economical- and development-wise if these women got a chance of a good education and to become part of Indians workforce?

The reality is different, India is suffering from gender biased, gender stereotypes and widespread crime. But things are changing, slowly and there are huge differences in the single regions and urban/rural areas. This is reflected also in the literature and recently published books.

A country and its culture is reflected in a local book store 

It is fascinating which books are offered and in which way they are presented within book stores, it reflects somehow trends, people and culture.  In Mangalore, in a huge bookstore, hidden in one of those buildings where at the ground floor it seems to be empty – (happens often in Indian cities, who knows why) – I found this book as one of the most eye catching new publications on the shelf: “Half a billion rising. The Emergence of the Indian Woman”, written by Anirudha Dutta.

In The Ecomist Dutta is described as “one of the sharpest observers of contemporary India”. And he is, indeed. The book has been published in January 2015 only, but it is one of the best sources for those who want to understand more about the “women change” and “women change makers” in India. It is a collection of stories of young Indian women, their mothers and families, their aspirations, dreams and realities across the country. Combined with a few, but relevant statistics, facts and surveys from important organizations such as UNICEF, ICRW, the World Factbook and academics it delivers the thousands of women realties and give insights on ongoing changes: Women in lower, middle and upper classes, women in business and women from slums, women who accept the dark side and those who commit suicides. It shows which important role grass root NGO’s and the government play.

And it shows the importance of role models: Women images shown by the media and films, the sexual revolution, the new morality. Women who try and could make it in the future, women in high positions and careers- oriented, women who teach their husbands how to change nappies, others who try, but fail as they don’t get any support because of the “limited” surroundings: missing access to education, but also lack of road connectivity and technology.

Who should read the book

It is not one of those books written for academic studies on women, but one that is full of stories and that fascinates the reader. It gives much of insight into India’s complex society.

Women in India: different chances, different challenges, different lifestyles
Women in India: different chances, different challenges, different lifestyles

Do you travel to India? Do you want to understand more about this country, its challenges and hidden influencers/unwritten roles and rules, the future potential of women in companies and business , and the importance of education?

You want to learn more about the Indian society, to go beyond the information offered by a travel book and the standard media publications on some very unique power women in politics, theatre and business? Are you interested in finding out more than what international media publishes on women violence and rapes?

Then, read this book!  Find out more about Indian’s women, about  its influencers and stakeholders, why India is as it is  and where the future of the new women generation can lead to.

Related content / reference:

Anirudha Dutta: Half a Billion raising. The Emergence of the Indian Woman. Published on Rainlight by Rupa publications, India, 2015.

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