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05 Dec


Status of women in urban areas is higher than that of women in rural areas. Urban women are comparatively more educated and liberal. Against 25.1 per cent literate women in rural areas, there are 54 per cent literate women in urban areas according to the census of 1991. Some of them are working too. Now they are not only aware of their economic social and political rights but they also use these rights to save themselves from being humiliated and exploited. The average age of girls at marriage in cities is also higher than the corresponding age in villages.
However, in the labour market, women are still in a disadvantaged situation. The labour market discriminates against women and is opposed to equality of opportunity-understood in a comprehensive sense to include equality of employment, training and promotional opportunities.
In this sense, change is not possible in the sex segregated labour market whose structures ensure that the career patterns of women will normally be marked by discontinuity, unlike the normal male career patterns which assume continuity. Because of the constraints of the sex segregated labour market, women tend to cluster in a limited range of occupations, which have low status and are poorly paid. Women normally prefer teaching, nursing, social work, secretarial and clerical jobs – all of which have low status and low remuneration.
Even those women have surmounted the hurdles to professional education are disadvantaged as they find it difficult to harmonize competing demands of a professional career and home.
Generally speaking, it is difficult for a woman to remain single or to combine marriage with career. Apart from the general expectation that all wives must be housewives, it has been noted that women are called upon to sacrifice their carrier when the need arises, thereby subordinating their own career to that of their husbands. This often creates frustration among women, leading even to psychotic illness in a few cases. Rural women, however, do not have to face such problems.
It has been further found that in the cities of India, high level education among girls is significantly associated with smaller family size. Though education of women has raised the age of marriage and lowered birth rate, it has not brought about any radical change in the traditional pattern of arranged marriages with dowry. Margaret Cormack
found in her study of 500 university students that girls were ready to go to college and mix with boys but they wanted their parents to arrange their marriage. Women want new opportunities but demand old securities as well.
. They enjoy their newly-found freedom but at the same time wish to carry on with old values
Divorce and remarriage are new phenomena we find among urban women. Today, women take initiative to break their marriages legally if they find adjustment after marriage impossible.
In Delhi alone 20 couples file cases every week seeking divorce from their spouses. About 2,000 divorce cases were filed in Delhi courts in five months between January and May, 1999. Surprisingly large number of divorces is sought by women on the grounds of incompatibility and mental torture.
Politically also, urban women are more active today. The number of women contesting elections has increased at every level. They hold important political positions and also possess independent political ideologies. It may, thus, be concluded that while rural women continue to be dependent on men both economically and socially, urban women are comparatively independent and enjoy greater freedom.
Thus, it may be said that though we may accept the views of scholars like Ashis Nandy, who have talked about new aspects of urban social organization which have replaced traditional ties, yet we cannot reject the prevalence of traditional aspects in the functioning of family, caste, kinship and religion in urban settings

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