Blogs » The Land of the Gods » 'Where at least I know I'm free'


speaking The more time I spend in India, the more I notice the strong cultural differences between the United States and India. The food and environmental differences are obvious.

But there are many subtle differences in male and female behavior that I've noticed the past few weeks.

Indian men, for example, are assertive and direct. They enjoy and prefer to make decisions for women: what to eat, where to stand, what to look at, what time to wake up and go to bed, and when to speak. Many of the women are soft-spoken, intelligent and hard-working, yet feel comfortable allowing men to take the dominant role.

I see no issue with it here in Kerala because the women I've been introduced to seem to function well in existing male-female gender roles. I'm sure the women could enjoy a few more social liberties in some areas of their lives. But I've come to realize as I travel, not every culture needs to look and act the same as it does in the United States. What's right and comfortable for me, isn't always right and comfortable for someone else.

My Rotary India team is comprised of a panel of independent, career-oriented American women. But here, we're still women. Our roles and accomplishments will always be secondary to a man's. My team actually has a joke that because we've been stripped of our decision-making powers, when we return to the States, we'll not remember how to make decisions anymore.

I think we've all learned to accept the directness as a cultural differences and make light of the situations that include an overly firm hand. And it's possible that my travels to India will help me better appreciate my life back home in Texas. And how privileged and proud I am to be an American woman.

Image Image Image Image