Majority of Indians Think Role of Women in Society is to be Good Mothers and Wives: Ipsos Study

Mumbai, May 17, 2017: Majority of Indians surveyed (64%) think role of women in society is to be good mothers and wives revolving around home, according to Ipsos Global Trends Survey 2017.

As part of the Global Trends study, Ipsos examined global attitudes toward the role of women, parenting, and family across 22 countries by interviewing 18,180 adults.

Parijat Chakraborty, Executive Director, Ipsos Public Affairs is not surprised with the findings: “More Indian women maybe moving out of their homes, seeking employment and carving out a niche for themselves at workplaces, but society sees them more as accomplished mothers and wives in primary role, relegating other roles to secondary positions.”

“Indian women cannot be seen shirking from domestic duties and winning accolades at work – at the cost of neglecting primary role that society has deemed on them, added Chakraborty.

When it comes to having children, traditional views on the family are more widespread in India.  About Eight in Ten (78%) Indians believe that it is better for parents of children to be married than unmarried.

Interestingly, for parenting also traditional views were found to be prevalent among Indians. 72% of Indian respondents felt that there was further scope for parents to take more responsibilities for behavior of their children.

“It is encouraging to see India leading the pack on men taking increased responsibilities for home and childcare than ever before – a whopping 81% of Indians conforming to this change,” added Chakraborty.

Global Views:

The Ipsos survey also shows clear differences of opinion between emerging vs established economies, between men and women, and most notably, between those with religious faith and those without.

Globally men are more likely than women to think women should be good wives and mothers (by 41% to 34%, on average), but there is an even greater divide by religious belief.  Those with religious beliefs are almost twice as likely to side with the traditional view on gender roles than those who describe themselves as agnostic or atheist (by 42% to 24%).

On average 69% of people across the 22 countries think that men now have greater responsibility for the home and childcare than ever before (but falling to less than half in Russia and Poland).  A majority of both genders agree, although men are more likely to think they are taking up the burden than women, by 73% to 64%!

When it comes to having children, traditional views on the family are more widespread.  On average, almost six in ten (57%) believe that it is better for parents of children to be married than unmarried, while three in ten (31%) disagree.  While a majority agree in 14 out of the 22 countries, there is actually a lot of variation on this question.  While over seven in ten prefer marriage in Indonesia, India, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the US, in four European countries the balance of opinion is the other way around (in Spain, Belgium, France, and Sweden, where people disagree it is better to be married if you are having children).

Again, those with religious faith are more likely to believe in the importance of marriage than non-believers (by 62% to 42%), as are men than women (by 61% to 52%).  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is also a difference by marital status.  Two in three (67%) of those who are married agree that it is better for parents to be married, against 38% of those living as married or in domestic partnerships, and 45% of people who are divorced.

One thing the world does agree on is that parents today do not take enough responsibility for the behaviour of their children, at 77% (just 18% disagree).  This sentiment is shared by a clear majority in every country, but especially South Africa (89%), the United States (87%) and Great Britain (85%).

Chakraborty added: “The world remains divided over the role of women, but the majority do NOT think women should stay at home and have children – although globally there is a clear difference in the views between those with religious faith and non-believers. Most people still think marriage matters if you are having children (but much less so in western Europe), but one thing it seems that does unite people around the world is a feeling that parents need to take more responsibility for the behaviour of their children – by which most mean I think, that “other” people should take more responsibility for “their” children.”

About the study:


The 2017 Global Trends Survey is an Ipsos survey conducted with 18,180 adults aged 16-64 (in the US and Canada 18-64) between 12 September and 11 October 2016. This is the second wave of the Global Trends Survey – a previous version was run in 2013 with 20 countries and the report was published in 2014.

The survey was carried out online using the Ipsos Online Panel System in 22 countries -Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. The 2014 wave covered the same countries, except for Indonesia, Mexico and Peru.

Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the United States of America.  Approximately 500+ individuals were surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey.

In established markets with a higher level of internet penetration (more than 60% online), the results can be taken as representative of the general working age population. However, in emerging markets where internet penetration is lower, the results should be viewed as representative of a more urban, affluent and ‘connected’ population.

The results are weighted to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.  Total global data have not been weighted by population size, but are simply a country average.

Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of don’t knows or not stated responses. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.


About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs teams around the world conduct research on public policy issues and on the attitudes and behaviours of citizens and consumers. We also conduct public opinion research and elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. Our goal is to help our clients manage issues, advance reputations, determine and pinpoint shifts in attitude and opinion, and enhance communications.

We provide clients with information that helps them understand how they can build efficient and effective policies, programs, communications strategies, and marketing initiatives.

About Ipsos

Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. With a strong presence in 87 countries, Ipsos employs more than 16,000 people and has the ability to conduct research programs in more than 100 countries. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is controlled and managed by research professionals. They have built a solid Group around a multi-specialist positioning – Media and advertising research; Marketing research; Client and employee relationship management; Opinion & social research; Mobile, Online, Offline data collection and delivery -. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999.