November 24, 2013

In a society that celebrates family, anything that falls outside this circle of acceptance is considered strange if not outright abnormal. In this overtly family-friendly environment, there is a small but growing section of single women who refuse to be defined within the archaic parameters of what is ‘normal’.

Whether single by choice or chance, in a permanent state of singledom or waiting for the right partner, these women have stopped living in a limbo and have jumpstarted their lives themselves. They have started carving a space for themselves in the public sphere by realising the importance of getting an education and joining the previously male-dominated skilled workforce.

At times they have to play by the society’s rule of acceptable lifestyle -- whether it is asking their brothers to accompany them while negotiating rental arrangements with the owner or leaving a pair of men’s shoes around to warn the handymen frequenting their house against any shenanigans.

Yet these women march on quietly but assuredly. They negotiate their sexuality within the parameters set by the society -- with caution and in the private domain. The cultural practices demand their sexuality remains outside the realm of any conversation.

Also read: Life of a single woman

But the onward march is not necessarily shared by all single women in this society. Most of them are confined to the four walls of the house, depending in every sense on their families, and facing the stereotypical glances and remarks. The society needs to accept this reality and create a healthy space for them -- to socialise, work, unwind and exist.

In this week’s Special Report we have tried to address these angles. For women to achieve a meaningful status in the society, conversation surrounding their lives must become a regular feature of a public discourse. And in our effort to generate this momentum, we celebrate the spirit and perseverance of single women of this country.