Television may have become a bit of a bad word in India that is Bharat. We curse its crassness, we swear at its dumbness. But look what it is doing in the Bharat that is India?
A new study by Robert Jensen of Brown University and Emily Oster of the University of Chicago shows that television is having a distinctly helpful effect on women, at least in rural India.
The authors followed women in 2,700 households in 180 villages in four states (Bihar, Goa, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu) and the capital, Delhi, from 2001 to 2003. In the places that didn’t get cable by 2003, and in the places that already had it at the beginning of the period studied, attitudes concerning women remained relatively stable. But in the 21 villages that got cable between 2001 and 2003, women’s attitudes changed quickly and substantially.
“The authors focus on autonomy (whether the woman gets to make her own decisions about shopping, health, and whom she visits), attitudes toward beating (the number of circumstances in which women view beating as acceptable), and whether women prefer having male children.
“After a village got cable, women’s preference for male children fell by 12 percentage points. The average number of situations in which women said that wife beating is acceptable fell by about 10 percent. And the authors’ composite autonomy index jumped substantially, by an amount equivalent to the attitude difference associated with 5.5 years of additional education.”
Read the full story here: How TV is empowering the women of India
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