Saturday, December 11, 2010

Women in India

From Freakonomics:

It has been record much in history that for ages women lag behind men. Notice that I use present tense, because it is still true.

If you are a woman born in India, count yourself real unlucky for women are viewed very lightly in the country. India is a country which practises male-worshipping. Having a boy means your twilight years will be taken care off by the boy. On the hand, a girl is viewed as a burden where you have to incur money to raise her and more to marry her in the form of dowry.

The issue is that not only men look down on women in India. Women, themselves feel that it is alright to be beaten up by drunken husband, it is alright to suffer all this injustice that we as outsiders see it.

So it is interesting that some economists attempt to measure the extent of emancipation of women with the outset of well, the goggle-box, television. These economists conducted face-to-face survey with the women in two towns near to each other. In the first town, television has found its way there while not the second town.

They found that in the town where television is a fixture at home, women are likely (in statistic terms, we say statistically significant) to send their girls to school, they are also more likely to exercise some degree of autonomy in some of the day-to-day activities.

However do note that there is a difference between declared preference and actual preference. In the former, we can expect some fibbing as respondents may want to say something which the interviewer wants to hear. For example, if someone were to ask you your household income, you are more likely to quote a lower number.

So the economists went to verify the declared preference - the enrolment of girls in the local schools. They confirmed that there is indeed an increase in the number of girls admitted to the schools.


Lesson I learnt: When we read survey findings do take note that it only reveals the declared preference of the respondents. Wherever possible, look out for data which can help us establish the actual preference.

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