When we talk about the term “single”, people are automatically thrown away and find the word amusingly offensive. “What are you going to do with your life?” “How are you going to stay in the society with your head held high?” What about women who are single by choice?
These are some of the questions that single women have to come across on a daily basis. Single women reportedly constitute 21% of India's female population, being close to 73 million in number including unmarried, divorced, separated and widowed women. Between 2001 and 2011, there was an almost 40% increase in their numbers.
Many women are single because of the simple fact that society has left them with horrid examples and they are not ready to fight battles against societal prejudices. Many women are subject to domestic violence and their individualism is not respected. Patriarchy is predominant and women are discriminated to a vast level.
Single women are said to be morally loose and have no identity for themselves. They are told that they cannot face the public. All other single women are not recognised as a valid category of individuals, which precludes access to schemes and entitlements. Even for widows, policies don’t always respect their individualism. In Gujarat, for instance, till the law changed in 2018, widows would lose their husband’s pension when their son became an adult.
In 2001, there were approximately 51.2 million single women; by 2011, this number rose by 39%. Census 2011 also showed single women head nearly 20% of households.
It is not because the women do not have partners or a wide variety of choices when it comes to their grooms but they often do not meet “Mr Right” and are satisfied with their lifestyle as an independent strong woman.
Women also do not want to be subject to emotional abuse which is predominant today in many other lives of married people. Women are creating their own businesses and emerging strong with or without the support of a spouse. Times have changed and women no longer require the financial support of a husband which was very predominant during olden times.
Even when faced with constant abuse from the husband and in laws, women would stay put and follow whatever was being done to them as they had no other option and no one else to turn to but now, women are making a name for themselves. They no longer need a shoulder to lean on financially.
In the modern era, it is not necessary to marry a man to bring a child under your care. Single women are more happier and stress free. They do not have to deal with immense pain and abuse that they have not asked for.
Many single women also find love and relationships with men who they need not get married to. They also adopt children if they have immense love for children. Therefore, single women are doing everything that they wish to and which makes them happy without relying on any male counterpart.