Are Fathers Gender Equal? Experiences of Educated Daughters

  • Ruchi Singh
  • Tarjeet Kaur Ahluwalia
  • Rajalakshmi SriramEmail author


A father within the Indian context is considered as a gatekeeper who controls his daughter’s life in many ways. Is this true with urban educated women in the present context? With a desire to answer this question and to understand the experiences of daughters with their own fathers, we interacted with 30 educated employed women and 50 postgraduate female students from the M.S. University of Baroda. A questionnaire was used to understand daughters’ perceptions of their fathers’ beliefs about women’s capabilities and to know if their fathers’ practices were gender equal. Results revealed that fathers’ beliefs and practices related to education and career were very progressive and gender equal, but a bit more restrictive related to freedom and mobility, with extra monitoring and focus on socialisation towards family roles. In general, fathers’ practices were more liberal, compared to their beliefs. The chapter illustrates how the nature of relationships (doting or demanding and supportive to domineering fathering) and fathering behaviours play a major role in shaping daughter’s sense of self, personality and social relationships.


Father-daughter relationship Beliefs of fathers Gender equality Fathering daughters Fathering in India 


  1. Ahluwalia, T. (2009). Father involvement in daughters’ life and career choices- daughters’ perspective. Unpublished Master’s Dissertation, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S University of Baroda, Baroda.Google Scholar
  2. Bates, K. A., Bader, F. C., & Mencken, F. C. (2003). Family structure, power-control theory, AND deviance: Extending power- control theory to include alternate family forms. Western Criminology Review, 4(3), 170–190 Retrieved from Scholar
  3. Bhasin, K. (1993). What is patriarchy? New Delhi: Women Unlimited.Google Scholar
  4. Bhasin, K. (2000). Understanding Gender. New Delhi: Women Unlimited.Google Scholar
  5. Bhogle, S. (1999). Gender roles: The construct in the Indian context. In T. Saraswathi (Ed.), Culture socialization & human development: Theory, research and applications In India (pp. 278–300). Delhi: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Chaudhary, N. (2013). The father’s role in the Indian family: Raghavan (2010). In D. Shwalb, B. Shwalb, & M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Fathers in cultural context (pp. 68–94). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Coley, R. L. (2003). Daughter-Father relationship and adolescent psychosocial functioning in low-income African families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 867–875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Desai, P., D’Souza, N., & Shukla, S. (1999). Indelible imprints. Calcutta: Mandira Sen For STREE.Google Scholar
  9. Engle, P. L. (1997). The role of men in families: Achieving gender equity and supporting children. Gender and Development, 5(2), 31–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fein, R. A. (1986). Research on fathering: Social policy and an emergent perspective (pp. 429–439).Google Scholar
  11. Ganesh, K. (1999). Patrilineal structure and agency of women: Issues in gendered socialization. In T. Saraswathi (Ed.), Culture socialization & human development: Theory, research and applications in India. New Delhi/Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Gilligan, C. (1982). in a different voice: psychological theory and women’s development. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  13. Kane, E. W. (1992). Race, Gender, And Attitudes Towards Gender Stratification. Social Psychology Quarterly, 55, 311–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kapadia, S. (2017). Adolescence In Urban India: Cultural Construction In A Society In Transition. Vadodara: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lamb, M. E. (2010). In J.W.Sons (Ed.)., The role of fathers in child development How do fathers influence children’s development? Let me count the ways (pp. 1–26).Google Scholar
  16. Lynch, E., & Hill, J. (1983). The intensification of gender related role expectation during early adolescence. In G. M. Brooks (Ed.), Girls at puberty (pp. 201–228). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Marone, N. (1988). How to father a successful daughter. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  18. Meeker, M. (2006). Strong fathers, strong daughters: 10 secrets every father should know. Washington, D.C: Regnery Publications.Google Scholar
  19. National Crime Records Bureau, Government of India. TABLE 3A.1 Crime against Women (IPC + SLL) – 2014–2016. Retrieved from
  20. Nielsen, L. (2004). Embracing your father: How to build relationship you’ve always wanted with your dad. New York: The Mcgraw Hill Companies.Google Scholar
  21. Palkovitz, R. (1997). Reconstructing “Involvement”: Expanding conceptualisations of men’s caring in contemporary families. In D. C. J. Hawkins (Ed.), Generative fathering. New York: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Pattnaik, J., & Sriram, R. (2010). Father/Male involvement in the care and education of children. Childhood Education: Infancy Through Early Adolescence, 86(6), 354–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pleck, J. H., & Masciadrelli, B. P. (2004). Paternal involvement by U.S residential fathers: Levels, sources and consequences. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 222–271). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Richter, L. A. (2011). Fatherhood and families. New York: United Nations, Department Of Economic And Social Affairs.Google Scholar
  25. Roopnarine, J. L., Krishnakumar, A., & Vadagama, D. (2013). Indian fathers: Family dynamics and investment patterns. Psychology and Developing Societies, 25(2), 223–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sandhu, G. (2008). Father involvement in supporting children’s achievement: A context of multiple parenting. Unpublished Master’s Dissertation, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S. University of Baroda, Baroda.Google Scholar
  27. Saraswathi, T. S., & Dutta, R. (1988). Invisible boundaries: Grooming for adult roles. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre.Google Scholar
  28. Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2007). Father’s involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97, 153–158 10.1111/J.1651-2227.2007.00572.X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Seymour, C. S. (1999). Systems Of Family And Gender In Transition. In Women, family And childcare in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Shah, A., & Vaidya, S. (Eds.). (2006). Thank you Papa. Ahmadabad: Aavishkar.Google Scholar
  31. Sharma, N. (1996). Identity of the adolescent girl. New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House.Google Scholar
  32. Singh, R. (2014). Do fathers nurture gender equality in their beliefs and practices? Daughters’ experiences. Unpublished Master’s Dissertation, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S University of Baroda, Baroda.Google Scholar
  33. Sriram, R. (2011). Evidence of change and continuity in fathering: The case of Western India. Marriage and Family Review, 47(8), 625–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sriram, R., & Dave, P. (2009). Families in India: A macro perspective. The Indian Journal of Social Work, 70(2), 145–189.Google Scholar
  35. Sriram, R., & Navalkar, P. (2013). Fathering in India: understanding challenges and opportunities. In Pattnaik (Ed.), Father involvement in young children’s lives (pp. 279–298). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Suppal, P., & Roopnarine, J. L. (1999). Paternal involvement in childcare as a function of maternal employment in nuclear and extended families in India. Sex Roles, 40, 731–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tessman, L. (1989). Father and Daughter : Early Tones, Later Echoes. In S. Cath, A. Gurwitt, & Gunsberg (Eds.), Fathers and their Families (pp. 197–255). Hillsdale/Hove: The Analytic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruchi Singh
    • 1
  • Tarjeet Kaur Ahluwalia
    • 2
  • Rajalakshmi Sriram
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Early Childhood Education and DevelopmentAmbedkar University of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesM.S. University of BarodaVadodaraIndia

Personalised recommendations