A T T I T U D E S T O W A R D S W O R K I N G W O M E N By S....
A T T I T U D E S T O W A R D S
W O R K I N G W O M E N
S. S U L T A N AKHTAR*
D. M. PESTONJEE
FARHAT F A R O O Q I
Working women are becoming a familiar woman) remains a freak in the eyes of the
feature of Indian U r b a n Society. During the majority of men, society in general, and
last decade there has been a prodigious rise ironically enough, in the eyes of the rest of
in the number of educated working women. the women who on their side remain only
When we analyse the status of women in our housewives. It is also claimed that they by
old Socio-cultural set up we find that they their physiological limitations cannot become
had a minimal number of rights and an over-
as effective and efficient workers an men.
whelming number of obligations (Thaper Then there are others who hold diametrically
1963). T h e traditional cultural milieu opposite views. Scientific inventions, accord-
enormously limited the avenues of employ-
ing to adherents of such views, have placed
ment of women. T h e socio-economic and women at par with men in terms of efficiency
political emancipation of women after the and effectiveness. Also, women should have
independence of the country coupled with the economic independence by earning their
change in our attitude towards the status of livelihood, at least, for the sake of social and
women in general, and employment of women psychological security. T h e present thinking
in particular, and increased employment of educated women is forcefully reflected by
opportunities for them have tremendously Subharwal (1963) in these words: "No
encouraged them to pervade institutions, existence is as degrading as an existence that
offices and factories in search of jobs. T h e is unearned."
contention of Roe (1956), " T o work because
of economic necessity is almost everywhere
T h e present investigation was undertaken
considered respectable for a woman, if un-
to emperically study the attitudes of present
fortunate., but there are many communities generation (students) towards working
still where women who work because they women.
want to and not because they have to are
Mohanty and Singh (1967) used Semantic
subject to some social or other penalties" is Differential technique to study attitude of
prophetic in our case. T h e 'penalties' in government servants towards working
our country are strong resentments and dis-
ladies. Some of the bipolar adjectives
approvals expressed against such women. (such as calming-exciting: genuine-artificial;
There are scores of people who firmly believe high-class; low-class; rich-poor; rough-
that her economic assistance to the family delicate; usual-unusual; young-old; etc.) used
budget can only be had at the cost of a by them are vague, if not frivolous, as far
paralysed home life. She (the Working as measurement of attitudes are concerned.
Mr. Akhtar is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Aligarh Muslim
University, Aligarh. Dr. Pestonjee is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. Banaras
Hindu University, Varanasi. Mr. Farooqi is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology,
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.
S. SULTAN A K H T A R , D. M. P E S T O N J E E AND FARHAT FAROOQI
no score and the responses eliciting indecisions
were given a score of 1. But it was m a d e
In the present investigation, we used a clear at the time of administration that they
likert-type scale prepared by Akhtar (1966). have to
It consists of three broad areas, namely, home
and family, personal and social relations, and
*Scale for Measuring Attitudes toward
work and efficiency. T h e reliability Working Women.
coefficients calculated by the split-half
1. Woman was made by God to be a
technique ( N = 1 0 0 ) ranged between .72 to
custodian of home and not a wage-
.89 for the above mentioned areas. T h e
items included in the scale were those which
2. A working wife can give the desired
yielded significant value of yt
love and affection to her husband.
Coefficient of correlation computed between
item and total scores) at 1% level, and also
3. Working women are neglectful of their
their corresponding "discriminative values"
were positive and high. T h e discriminative
4. Women, in our country, should be
value or item validity, according to
encouraged to think seriously in terms
Anastasi (1954). "is the degree to which as
of having a vocation.
item detects individual differences in the
5. Working women do not find time to
characteristics which the test is designed to
attend to their domestic duties.
measure." T h e scale items are reproducted
6. Working women develop suspicions
* S A M P L E
7. Working women hold high social
position in society.
T h e present investigation was conducted
8. Women should stay at home to take
on the postgraduate men and women
care of their family.
students of Aligarh Muslim University,
Aligarh. T h e sample comprises 85 women
9. Women impress as efficient workers.
and 111 men students of the Faculties of
10. Working women generally lead a
Arts and Science. T h e names of the students
happy married life.
were noted down from the Roll's Register
11. Working women are suspected to have
and 5 0 % of the enrolled students of the
a doubtful morality.
various departments were randomly selected.
Each form was filled individually by the
12. Working women who have children
respondents who were not allowed to discuss
feel guilty of neglecting them.
the statements with one another during 13. Working women enjoy as much
the course of administration. Names of
prestige in our society as do the non-
students who showed lack of interest in the
investigation were removed from the list and
14. It is not possible for women to work
they were not required to fill in the form.
with full devotion.
T h e returns were scored with the help of
15. Working women are deprived of the
punched scoring keys. All those responses
freedom which they have as a
which represented favourable attitudes
towards working women were given a score
16. Working women usually prove to be
of 2. T h e negative responses were assigned
ATTITUDES T O W A R D S W O R K I N G W O M E N
17. Working women develop a realistic prepared separately for men and women
approach to life.
students. T h e n for the two groups mean.
S.D. and C.V. were computed separately for
18. Employment of women creates many each area as well as for total score.
problems for the employer.
T h e null hypothesis (Ho) that there is no
19. It is not difficulty for a working significant difference between the attitudes
woman to divide her time between of men and women students towards educated
home and work.
working women was tested by Kolmogorov-
20. I think that most of the employed Smirnov two-tailed test (Seigel 1956).
women are frustrated in life.
Frequency distribution of both the groups
T h a t they have to choose the alternative with the same step intervals was prepared.
'undecided' only when they were unable to Cumulative frequency proportions were
make a choice between "agreement" and separately found out for each group. T h e
maximum difference between the cumulative
frequency proportions (D) of the two groups
—Frequency distributions for all was determined and substituted in the
the three areas as well as for total score were formula given below:
T h e value of X2 with 2 df at 1% level of
From table 2 we find that, on an average,
significance = 9.21 T h e obtained value of women students have more favourable
X2 with 2 df = 14.03.
attitude towards working women than their
T h e obtained value is much higher than male counterparts. When we compare the
the tabulated value. Thus the Ho is S.D. and C.V. of the two groups we come
rejected. In other words, men and women to the conclusion that these groups do not
students differ significantly in their attitude differ much from each other as far as the
towards working women.
extent of variability is concerned.
T h e three areas were tested separately for
significance of difference. Results are
reproduced in table 3 on next page.
S. SULTAN A K H T A R , D. M. P E S T O N J E E AND FARHAT FAROOQI
students have more favourable attitude
towards the personal and social aspects of
life of working women than their male
counterparts. But we should not lose sight
of the fact that the men students are
comparatively more homogeneous in their
attitude towards working women, as far as
their personal and social relations are
We note that men and women students
D I S C U S S I O N
do not differ significantly in their attitudes
If men and women students do not differ
towards working women as far as "home in their attitudes with respect to "work and
and family" and "work and efficiency" are efficiency" of working women, it is not
concerned. But they differ significantly in surprising. Scientific and technological
their attitudes with respect to personal and developments have equated biological
social relations of working women. T h e differences of the two sexes. There is hardly
mean, S.D., and C.V., values of the three any sphere of activity which women have
areas for the two groups are contained in not 'stooped to conquer'. Opportunities of
education and training are equally available
to both the sexes. Thus it is no wonder t h a t
the subjects of both the groups perceive them
to be equally efficient or inefficient.
We have noted that men and women
students do not significantly differ is their
attitudes towards working women with
respect to "home and family". But it is
interesting to note that 6 0 % women students
as compared to only 4 4 % men students
endorsed the statement that "working women
T h e averages of attitude Scores of men generally lead a happy married life." 6 2 %
and women students towards working women women students expressed their disagreement
with respect to 'Home and family' are 11.95 with the statement t h a t "woman was m a d e
and 12.90 respectively. T h e difference in the by God to be a custodian of home and not
averages is found to be only marginal. Again, a wage-earner", whereas only 3 4 % male
no significant difference in the attitudes of students disagreed with the above statement.
men and women students was revealed by the 6 0 % women and 5 9 % men students
K-S test with regard to "work and efficiency". expressed that "working women do not find
But the two groups differ significantly in time to attend to their domestic duties". Then,
their attitudes towards working women with 5 3 % women and 6 3 % men students claimed
respect to their personal and social aspects that "working women are deprived of the
of life. From Table. 4 we note that the extent freedom which they have as a housewife".
of variability as well as the mean score of Men ( 5 5 % ) as well as women ( 5 9 % )
women students is higher than that of men students consider that "Working women who
students. We may conclude that women have children feel guilty of neglecting them".
ATTITUDES T O W A R D S W O R K I N G W O M E N
T h u s it is clearly evident that both the groups considered to be job-snatchers by men and
fully realise the significance of the roles played are a challenge to their long established
by women in the home. T h e responses seem superiority over women.
to be in the socially desirable directions.
Since, in the recent past only, women have
7 2 % women students as compared to only come out of the four-walls of their homes to
5 3 % men students were found to be in agree-
take up employment, their potential abilities
ment with the statement that "women, in our as workers is generally perceived to be in
country, should be encouraged to think direct conflict with the long-held notions of
seriously in terms of having a vocation" the their loyalties to their home and family. T h e y
majority of the members of both the groups have taken up employment by defying the
( 6 0 % women and 5 7 % men) were of the traditional value scheme of Indian society
view that "working women hold high social and family obligations, which is resented,
positions in society". Again, 7 7 % women consciously or unconsciously, by the majority
students as compared to 6 0 % men students of men students.
stated that "working women develop a
realistic approach towards life". T h e majority
T h e old values and ways of living are
of the men students ( 6 6 % ) stated that getting integrated with the new, the emerging
"working women are suspected to have a ones are still in the phase of transition, so
doubtful morality", whereas only 3 9 % the unfavourable attitude of men students
women students expressed their agreement.
towards working women is more a resistance
to change than anything else. If we have
T h u s we can conclude that the basic to motivate women to work we will have to
difference between the attitudes of men and minimise their home responsibilities and
women students towards working women is change their, as well as our own, attitude
with respect to their personal and social towards work, home and such other social
aspects of life. Working women are responsibilities.
R E F E R E N C E S
Akhtar, S.S. (1966) A Study of Men and Women, Students Towards Working Women,
(reported by F. Farooqui). (Unpublished M.A. Dissertation, Department of Psychology
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.)
Anastasi, A. (1954) Psychological Testing. Macmillan, N.Y.: p. 152.
Mohanty, G.S. 1967 & Singh, I. (1967) A Study of Reaction of Government Servants
Towards Working Ladies by Semantic Differential Technique. Ind. Psychol. Rev., Vol. 4
No. 1, 51-54
Roe, A. (1956) T h e Psychology of Occupation. Wiley, N.Y., p.. 104.
Siegal, S. (1956) Non-parametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. McGraw-Hill.
N . Y . ; p . 127
Subharwal, M. (1963) Motherhood, Seminar (Dec.) 50, p. 29.
Thaper. R. (1963) Through the Ages. Seminar ( D e c ) , 52, p. 17.