Document Type

Journal Article


Globalization of the Indian economy has dramatically influenced social life in India. The expansion of the middle class is said to have occurred as a consequence of this process. Based on ethnographic research among lower middle-class families in West Bengal, India, the author examines the apparent paradox between women's positive perceptions of empowerment and the overall negative impact of structural adjustment policies on women. Many scholars argue that globalization has been detrimental to women due to growing structural gender inequalities, but many respondents identify greater opportunities to challenge preexisting patriarchal norms through the role models available in the globalized media. While there are increasing inequalities for households, women do not consider these to be gender disadvantages, emphasizing instead the opportunities for greater independence. The author pays particular attention to the confluence of the prowomen consumer discourses of the global market with earlier developmentalist notions of the public role of women.