India has a shamefully low number of female politicians.
+ I studied in India for a couple of years back in the 1980s and early 90s. I also traveled around enough to get a pretty good idea of how women were regarded and treated back then. To me, it seemed like a kind of mythic reverence was coupled with a practical disrespect for many women.
Foreign students – that’s what international students were indelicately called – like me were pretty much ostracized by local Indian women. If Indian women had hung out with us it would be assumed we were all having wild sex and an unseemly stigma would stick with the women, even if totally groundless. And then their chances of a good, arranged marriage would be diminished or possibly nullified.
You see, Europeans, Australians and North Americans were all sex maniacs while the Indian folk were spiritual, subtle and pure.
Turns out that was an unfair stereotype. Some Indian male friends of mine laid it out straight. They said many Indian university couples did the deed quick and dirty in the bushes instead of slowly and romantically in their dorm rooms (which seems to be more of a Western norm).
So basically there was significant hypocrisy about sex in India during the 1980s and early 90s. And “white” males like myself were the preferred and imaginary scapegoats for a culture that for whatever reasons still regarded unmarried sex as a travesty.*
More recent news stories suggest it’s time to stop “infantilizing” women in India. So I’m not surprised by the above link. But I think – hope – some progress has been made since I was there.