Indian women seek freedom from appearance based societal bias
Vidya Balan released the Nihar Naturals #IAmCapable national report. As a brand, Nihar always stood for the inner-voice of women and has supported a progressive life for them. This time, Nihar took upon the task of making Indian women realize that, “Appearance cannot be a tool to judge a woman’s capability”. In order to sensitise women about their inner capability through a powerful medium that would immediately resonate with them, Nihar Naturals launched the #IAmCapable report, a national study commissioned to Nielsen. The report highlights a limiting bias faced by Indian women today – 64% of Indian women state that judgements passed on them has affected their ability to reach their true potential. The Nihar Naturals initiative, commissioned this research to bust some commonly held judgements regarding a woman’s appearance and her ability.
Women’s hair length and clothing choices are elements of style that Indian society routinely polarises either as ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’. Long locks are considered ‘feminine,’ whereas short haircuts are not. Hair in a bun or braid is considered traditional and sedate; long and loose hair is judged as glamorous. With such fixedstereotypes at play, Indian women find their style being confused with their abilities like 62% of Indian men agree that women with long hair are better at attending to a child’s needs and 62% of Indian men agreed that they don’t think women who wear traditional attire can change the tyre of a car.
An Indian actor has encountered and overcome such stereotypes in the professional world. As brand ambassador for Nihar Naturals, Vidya Balan said, “I have chosen to be associated with Nihar over 5 years because this brand believes in encouraging and enabling women to achieve their full potential. I learnt that more than 69% of Indian men agreethat their judgement of women is based on their looks. I feel by making public the findings in this survey Nihar is doing a great job in rejecting appearance based stereotypes. Nihar through its initiatives,is tangiblyenabling men and women alike to overcome obstacles to development.”
Also present at the eventwas Harshini Khanekar, India’s first female fire engineer who overcame the odds of conventional bias against her choice of career in a male dominated field to succeed in her professional life. Harshini acknowledged the report’s findings and said, “I am alarmed to learn that 70%of women agree that majority of judgements on women are from family members or friends rather than strangers. I had observed this around the society;it affects women’s morale and professional progress. I believe men and women alike need support to reach goals and should not have superficial judgements hampering our motivation.”