Understanding Gender Stereotyped Roles: The impact of Patriarchy

How Patriarchy cultures look like and how such societies persist today


  • Why women are only expected to stay at home and take care of the kids and the household.
  • Why always kids are given the family name of the father, and never of the mother.
  • Why a woman is traditionally known to take on the family name of her husband and abandon her own family name while men are not known to take on the names of their wives’ families.

How Patriarchy still exists in the mindset of the society

Unfortunately, the practice of a patriarchal – Patriarchy or male-dominated society has been prevalent in the world for quite a long time. What’s even more unfortunat is that, it still hasn’t quite disappeared from our lives

The male-dominated society is said to be a patriarchal society and the term literally means “rule of the father”, from ancient Greek. This concept has taken firm root in society, and what is probably the worse is that it blended so firmly into the mindsets of both men and women, that nobody thought that there is something wrong or disturbing about it.


We live in a kind of society where our behaviours, thoughts, and emotions are shaped by patriarchal notions. Let’s see how women at every stage of their life are being subjected to the evils of the male-dominated society. Below are the instances of patriarchy we find in our daily lives:

✦ A patriarchal society or this concept believes that it is only the men who are capable of running and handling social, moral, political, economic, and financial life. Women are still believed to be weaker physically, mentally, and emotionally and thus incapable of making important decisions.

✦ Obedience is perhaps one of the key essentials in a patriarchal society as every wish and order of the man of the house is to be strictly adhered to, with humility, restraint, and respect, must be directed towards him at every single time and no one is allowed to go against anything the patriarch says or does. Not the same situation with women of the house

✦ The legal system too is biased towards males in a patriarchal society as most of the time, the laws are mostly in favour of men, which leaves the women with neither rights nor resources even if they needed the most.

✦ In a marriage, women, no matter what marital atmosphere they’re struggling in, are supposed to stay married to their husbands and suffer as many patriarchal societies frown upon the concept of divorce. The idea and everyone’s belief is that a woman cannot survive on her own.

✦ In the case of inheritance, only the male child of the family is given a share of the family property, finances, jewellery, or anything else. The women and the daughters struggled a lot to get any form of inheritance.

✦ Traditionally, it is men who are expected to be a part of the political system and are perceived as ‘fit to rule’ and professions like doctors, lawyers, engineers, and managers are largely male-dominated.

✦ Big decisions in the family such as the marriages of the children are always decided by the man of the house. In some rare cases, some suggestions by the patriarch’s wife are considered, however, it is highly unlikely.

✦ It’s women who have to move from their family home to their husband’s home after marriage with a lot of dowries/money in a majority of cases or else they have to face the music. No kind of compromise or adjustment of any kind is seen from the husband’s side. It is always the woman or wife who has to adjust, without any objections or complaints from her side.

✦ The typical patriarchal society allows domestic violence, though may not very openly. There are a lot of cases where the patriarchal society has shown its ugly face which has hugely impacted the lives of several women in fact, it turned women’s life upside down in some cases.

Women are expected to be humble and submissive at all times, which may lead to horrifying physical abuse, such as domestic violence, rape, and many more. Also, any kind of defiance in such cases can lead to physical and mental harassment from the husband’s side to the wife.

✦ Patriarchal societies have this tendency to instill the idea of ‘masculinity’ within boys from a very young age and they told to preserve and flaunt their masculinity whenever they feel like it, and show their superiority over females from childhood and steer clear of any behaviour that is deemed to be feminine.

✦ The report from the National Family Health Survey-5 reveals that 19% of men agree that a husband has the right to reprimand his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. Why the hell marital rape is not a complete crime in India (Yet). In fact, Mint research shows that a woman in India is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from others.

✦ Men don’t cry, women must look pretty always, don’t run like a girl or don’t cry like a girl or women can’t drive is what we have all heard all these times and is so ridiculous as this starts from our childhood and we are imposed with a lot of stereotyping like these. Crying or weeping is believed to be a feminine trait, and boys are discouraged from doing so from a very young age.

✦ In some parts of the country, women are told to eat their dinner at last, after all the family members have finished eating. Though things are changing slowly and we still have mothers who serve the whole family before she eats. Recently, a Twitter user started this conversation that how mothers in desi households eat last and how she ends up eating less than others or a cold meal. Well, the good thing was the responses to the tweet showed that the younger generation is trying to change up things where a few felt that it’s an Indian tradition and mother’s love but is justified. Why at last, why not together.


The situation of women has been grim not only in India but in many countries. For decades, they have been deliberately denied the good opportunities for growth in the name of gender, socio-cultural practices and sometimes religion. Even today, women are still suffering from the denial of freedom even in their homes, and are becoming the victims of several social evils like humiliation, torture, exploitation, sexual violence, child marriage, sati, polygamy, purdah system, female infanticide, forced pregnancy, rape, dowry violence and many more etc.

Men predominate the Indian society and women have been the victims since forever in the respective sphere of life; especially in economic life, while decision making, on the utilization of her earnings and mainly how a male can use her body. Hence, a woman’s life hangs between pleasures at one end and danger at another end.


The condition and situation of women is more miserable in rural India with respect to various socio-economic aspects like poverty which is one of the important characteristics of India, where most of families are just surviving with their day-to-day earnings. Required food, better healthcare, and higher educational opportunities are the challenges and a girl child is treated as a ‘silent lamb’ born to suffer all evils.

Countless girls are still kept away from schools or from pursuing their dreams and exploring their talents in fact, the birth of a boy is more preferred than a birth of a baby girl. Also, women are even paid half of the money comparing to their male counterparts that they earn for the same job and are continuously reminded of their inferiority, simply by ‘nature’, by being a woman.


Gender equality was initiated along with the ‘#MeToo’ movement in America and was introduced a decade earlier by three women who had experienced sexual violence. It was a campaign to engender solidarity between other women who had also been sexually assaulted. But it was the recent #metoo movement (against sexual abuse and harassment) that was very successful in bringing to light the scale of multiple problems and triggering a global debate about persisting gender inequalities and the disadvantages women face everywhere.

In October 2017, this was the time when the movement gained impetus and became a Twitter hashtag, after multiple allegations of sexual assault against American film producer Harvey Weinstein.

According to the multiple news reports, the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ was used 19 million times on Twitter alone and the wave of people speaking out about their drastic experiences was swiftly followed by a backlash. Since then, #MeToo has swelled to become an international movement.


Despite all these, women are running fast and catching up and are showing that they can shine in a man’s world. The thing is, women don’t need a man’s world. They just need a safe place where women can do things differently in their own way and grab the stage with men equal to them. High fives and cheers to those men who are lending a hand and creating a safe place for women in this world where all suffer less and we (men) owe it to them since, women are the ones who are creating the lives on this planet. Period.

Women are not breaking barriers they have already broken the barriers and now taking on different roles. However, patriarchy still exists in the mindset of society. It is not an ideal society where a woman rules or one where a man rules. An ideal society is where both men and women are given equal importance and opportunities.

The truth is equality will never happen unless we all believe that we are equal. Though it is now slowly being accepted in developed cultures, the developing and under-developed cultures are still struggling with it.

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