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Girl Uninterrupted – The Story of Single Women in India

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Meet the 73 million and counting women who are challenging the norms of marriage and opting to stay single. They are well-educated and empowered – yet no brand is currently speaking to them.

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Girl Uninterrupted – The Story of Single Women in India

  1. 1. GIRL UNINTERRUPTED The story of single women in India
  2. 2. THE SOUND 2 SOUND MEDIA “A MAN WITHOUT A WOMAN IS ONLY HALF A MAN” “…AND A WOMAN WITHOUT A MAN IS?” Indian proverb The Sound WHO ARE THEY?
  3. 3. THE SOUND 3 WHO ARE THEY? SOUND MEDIA Indian society is largely patrilocal and places a high premium on the traditional roles of wife, mother and daughter MISOGYNY IS A DEFINING FEATURE OF WOMEN’S LIVES AND RELATIONSHIP NORMS ‣ Religious  stories,  cultural  myths  and  the  media  are  filled  with  narra6ves  of  the  ideal   wife  and  mother   ‣ Women  are  expected  to  marry  once  they  come  of  age  and  serve  their  husband  and   in-­‐laws   ‣ Women  are  expected  to  marry  once  they  complete  their  educa6on  –  some6mes   even  before,  and  their  extended  social  circle  places  pressure  to  ensure  this   ‣ ‘Marry  by  age’  means  that  girls  should  get  married  when  they  are  between  18  and   24   ‣ As  women  climb  the  educa6onal  ladder,  the  gender  ra6o  decreases  and  carries   forward  into  lower  representa6on  of  women  in  professions “In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent.”– Manu Smriti, Hindu sacred texts
  4. 4. THE SOUND 4 SOUND MEDIA BUT THE WINDS OF CHANGE ARE BLOWING, AND MORE WOMEN ARE PUTTING OFF TRADITIONAL ROLES AND RELATIONSHIPS
  5. 5. THE SOUND 5 HOW MANY ARE THEY? SOUND MEDIA Single women in India make up a sizeable cohort and the numbers speak to this quick change MANY ARE CHOOSING TO GO IT ALONE ‣ 21%  (73  million)  of  India’s  women  above  the  age  of  20  are  now  single   ‣ Their  numbers  grew  40%  between  2001  and  2011  according  to  census  data   ‣ An  incredible  66%  growth  rate  in  the  number  of  singles  in  the  20-­‐29yo  age  bracket   in  the  past  few  years   Staying  single  is  s,ll  easier  for  the  privileged,  making  single  women  a  lucra,ve   cons,tuency  as  consumers   These  numbers  are  making  brands,  businesses  and  popular  media  sit  up  and  no,ce,   and  as  a  consequence  the  conversa,on  is  moving  forward ‘There was a time when single women were pitied. Then TV shows like Sex and the City made it cool and desirable. Now people have moved on to serious issues associated with singlehood, like security of women, and surrogacy’
 – Advaita Kala, author of Almost Single, screenwriter of Kahaani, and single
  6. 6. THE SOUND 6 HOW MANY ARE THEY? SOUND MEDIA Single women have been gaining ground across Asia, and India is set to overtake its neighbours on this front …AND THIS ISN'T IN ISOLATION The  surge  of  single  women  isn't  limited  to  India  –    the  world  is  following  a   progression  seen  across  Asia,  due  to  a  number  of  factors:       ‣ Women  have  increasing  access  to  educa6on,  and  subsequently,  par6cipa6on   in  the  workforce   ‣ Employment  migra6on  results  in  women  living  independent  from  family  and   societal  constraints   ‣ Professional  women  don’t  want  to  get  married  and  take  on  mul6ple  familial   du6es  at  the  expense  of  their  career     ‣ Women  across  Asia  tradi6onally  'marry  up’;  diminishing  the  available  op6ons   for  the  best  qualified/employed  women.  Men  on  the  other  hand  are  used  to   marrying  down  and  find  rela6onships  with  educated  and  independent  women   challenging  
  7. 7. THE SOUND 7 SOUND MEDIA HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE A SINGLE WOMAN IN INDIA?
  8. 8. THE SOUND 8 WHAT DEFINES THEM? SOUND MEDIA THEY ARE EMPOWERED AND DEFIANT BUT OFTEN ASSAILED BY DOUBTS: THEIR OWN AND THOSE OF SOCIETY Norms Single Women’s Uncertainty Autonomy & Independence
  9. 9. THE SOUND 9 SOUND MEDIA “I MAKE MY OWN CHOICES, BUT THE WORLD KEEPS QUESTIONING THEM” They’re traversing uncharted territory, boldly breaking new ground but everyone around them looks at them with suspicion ‣ They  are  oYen  viewed  as  an  anomaly,  an  iconoclast,  or  worse  –  a  leY-­‐over   ‣ It  is  frustra6ng  but  these  challenges  inspire  resilience:  they  are  proud  to  be  single   ‣ The  economic  reasons  for  marriage  don’t  apply  like  they  did  for  previous  genera6ons   ‣ They  haven’t  ruled  out  marriage  en6rely  but  know  that  they  can  do  be[er  than  the   choices  presented  to  them HER AUTONOMYNORM Everyone  gets  married Why  should  I  live  my  life  like  everyone  else? Marriage  is  about  adjus6ng Why  should  I  compromise  my  career? Single  income  is  not  enough  these  days   Why  should  I  get  someone  to  pay  for  me? Be[er  to  have  kids  when  young Why  not  have  them  when  I  will  feel  like  it? VS WHAT DEFINES THEM?
  10. 10. THE SOUND 10 SOUND MEDIA “I'M HAPPY TO BE INDEPENDENT, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT LIES AHEAD” They are free to do whatever they want but when they seek role models and support systems there is no one to turn to HER UNCERTAINTYHER INDEPENDENCE I  have  lots  of  me  6me Do  I  go  travel  with  my  married  friends? I  don’t  need  to  think  about  kids’  educa6on! Who  will  inherit  all  my  wealth? I  can  focus  on  my  career Will  my  job  replace  rela6onships? I  have  a  good  network  of  friends Who  will  be  there  for  me  when  I  am  old? VS WHAT DEFINES THEM? ‣ Life  is  geared  towards  family  as  a  default  secng  -­‐  right  from  food  por6ons  to  property   rentals  to  raising  children   ‣ It  can  be  hard  to  connect  with  other  single  women  for  inspira6on  or  advice   ‣ Socializing  with  women  living  a  similar  life  and  facing  similar  problems  is  important   but  not  many  friends  stay  single   ‣ Being  free  from  the  expecta6ons  of  partners  or  in-­‐laws  lets  them  focus  on  pursuing   passions,  careers,  travel,  and  leisure
  11. 11. THE SOUND 11 SOUND MEDIA WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
  12. 12. THE SOUND 12 SOUND MEDIA Single women need to feel recognized, understood, and accepted as part of the norm EARN THEIR TRUST BY NORMALIZING THEIR EXPERIENCE To  beBer  represent  an  evolving  society  and  earn  trust  for  suppor,ng  progressive   values,  brands  will  have  to:   1) Ac6vely  break  taboos  which  hold  the  majority  back   2) Help  normalize  groups  that  are  redefining  the  status  quo  by  portraying  them  as  an   unremarkable  part  of  everyday  life   We’re  s6ll  some  way  off  from  step  1,  let  alone  step  2   “The SKII campaign features women who’ve chosen to pursue their dreams instead of being pressured into marrying for the sake of it. It’s helped increase sales of SK-II in China more than 50 percent over the past nine months” - Markus Strobel, global president of SK-II WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BRAND?
  13. 13. THE SOUND 13 SOUND MEDIA INCLUDE THEM IN WHAT YOU SAY AND DO Single women aren’t just numerous, they also have more time and money to spend More  and  more  progressive  businesses  are  targe,ng  single  women.   ‣ Fringe  travel  companies  like  Girls  on  the  Go,  WOW  Club,  India  Untravelled,  and   Beyond,  who  cater  to  solo  women  travellers,  are  on  the  up6ck   ‣ Ladies  nights  in  bars  in  progressive  ci6es  are  becoming  increasingly  popular  and   bars  are  pucng  in  place  measures  like  female  bouncers  and  women-­‐only   sec6ons  for  the  security  of  their  patrons   ‣ Da6ng  apps  like  Truly  Madly,  Floh  and  Tinder  report  rapidly  rising  numbers  of   women  users   Popular  culture  is  depic,ng  female  agency  and  independence  in  a  whole  new  light   ‣ New  Indian  cinema  and  web  series  like  Queen,  Kahaani,  Margherita  with  a   Straw,  Ladies  Room,  are  widely  watched  and  talked  about   ‣ Books  on  the  single  life  are  increasingly  gracing  bookshelves  –  compelling  even   Chetan  Bhagat  to  write  One  Indian  Girl WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BRAND?
  14. 14. THE SOUND 14 SOUND MEDIA INDIAN WOMEN ARE CHOOSING HOW TO BE… SO SHOULD YOU! THE EXPERIMENTERS Some  watch  and  jewellery  brands  like   Tanishq  have  begun  talking  to  single   women  but  don’t  want  to  scare  away  their   larger  market THE CONVENTIONALS Many  FMCG,  appliances  and  telecom   companies  who  ac6vely  speak  to  women  s6ll   showcase  her  within  the  tradi6onal  roles  of     mother,  wife,  and  moorless-­‐without-­‐her-­‐man THE BLIND Finance,  automobiles,  and  real  estate   companies  who’ve  tradi6onally  wooed  men,   don’t  yet  see  the  opportunity  of  this  growing   cohort.  Women  aren’t  a  part  of  their   messaging,  except  to  smile  and  support  the   provider  of  the  house! This is uncharted territory for most brands, so doing it the right way has not been established yet WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BRAND?
  15. 15. V A N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W. T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M Would you like more of this kind of thinking? Or perhaps you just want someone for a coffee and a chat. Aili Seghetti - aili@thesoundhq.com Aasish Francis - aasish@thesoundhq.com
  16. 16. THE SOUND 16 SOUND MEDIA RESOURCES COVER h[ps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-­‐LLOgv1Olg SLIDE 2 h[ps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-­‐LLOgv1Olg SLIDE 3 h[ps://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/here-­‐are-­‐all-­‐the-­‐stunning-­‐images-­‐of-­‐women-­‐that-­‐atlas-­‐of-­‐beau?utm_term=.wbJMNmzX6#.txMPpWqnb SLIDE 4 h[ps://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/here-­‐are-­‐all-­‐the-­‐stunning-­‐images-­‐of-­‐women-­‐that-­‐atlas-­‐of-­‐beau?utm_term=.wbJMNmzX6#.txMPpWqnb SLIDE 5 h[p://wallpaper-­‐gallery.net/images/indian-­‐wallpaper-­‐free-­‐download/indian-­‐wallpaper-­‐free-­‐download-­‐16.jpg SLIDE 6 h[p://uclickvframe.com/wp-­‐content/uploads/2016/01/woman-­‐beauty-­‐atlas-­‐mihaela-­‐noroc-­‐191__880.jpg SLIDE 7 h[ps://s-­‐media-­‐cache-­‐ak0.pinimg.com/originals/60/09/1f/60091f50395322d16cf2466f78cb1c9f.jpg SLIDE 8 h[ps://aamjanata.com/wp-­‐content/uploads/2011/11/Shy_smile_of_a_bride_in_a_Hindu_wedding.jpg SLIDE 8 h[ps://femicaresurgery.com/wp-­‐content/uploads/2016/01/fcsc-­‐gyn-­‐services.jpg SLIDE 9 h[p://blog.ut.ee/wp-­‐content/uploads/2017/04/Garry-­‐Knight.jpg SLIDE 10 h[p://i.huffpost.com/gen/1665107/images/o-­‐WOMAN-­‐BLINDFOLDED-­‐facebook.jpg SLIDE 11 h[ps://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-­‐sta6c/sta6c/2016-­‐03/15/2/enhanced/webdr14/original-­‐18653-­‐1458023990-­‐7.jpg?no-­‐auto SLIDE 12 h[p://southasiajournal.net/wp-­‐content/uploads/2014/11/Indian_woman_smiles.jpg SLIDE 13 h[ps://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/henna.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=1600 SLIDE 14 h[ps://www.youtube.com/user/TanishqJewellery   SLIDE 14 h[ps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9BlI9nhqTE SLIDE 14 h[p://adsoYheworld.com/media/print/volkswagen_ravan

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