We grew up listening, “Make good friends, because friendship does influence you.” But who knew this saying also applies in the later part of one’s life, especially for women. A new study by World Bank titled “Social Lives of Married Women” has put forth that women with more socially aware friends bring up daughters better. The study analyses the peer effects in ‘Female Autonomy and Investments in Children’. The important takeaways from the study are:

  • The paper used primary data from Uttarakhand where an average woman was found to have only three friends and around 80 percent do not have friends of any other caste.
  • The paper analyses the effect of a friend’s empowerment on the autonomy of a woman, keeping in view the aspects like physical mobility, access to social safety nets, and employment outside the household; perceived social norms; and an outcome of household bargaining: investments in her children.
  • The main point of analysing the effect is the one on a woman who isn’t empowered enough to the one who experiences an empowerment shock. The effect wasn’t much on a woman’s autonomy but was far more pronounced on how she brings up her daughter.
  • The findings also indicate a large decay between the effects of own empowerment and that on the peer.
  • The paper uses data from the Mahila Samakhya Program, which was started by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, India in 1988. Women who participate in the program are more likely to leave the house without permission.
  • The sample consists of 404 women and includes data on their ties to 942 friends and friends of friends from 69 randomly chosen villages, stratified into four program districts and two non-program districts.
  • The study puts forth that having friends who participate in social networks leads a woman who is a non-participant in such networks to feed her daughter with more protein-rich diet and invest less time on domestic chores.

A new study by World Bank titled “Social Lives of Married Women” puts forth that women with more socially aware friends bring up daughters better.

Socially aware friends help raise daughters better

People too seem to validate what the report. Kanti Bai, a housewife in a village named Atara near Kanpur, says, “Since I live at home and don’t move out frequently, I’m not really aware of what and how of things. Being friends with women who are socially aware helps me direct my daughter on a path where she can utilise her potential. Because when it comes to my son, there are people who advise him but with a daughter the case is different. She goes to school but I’m not sure if she’ll be going for higher studies. My friends, who work, be in Anganwadi are some other places and are socially aware, help me decide for her.”

The effect of a woman who is empowered enough on a woman who isn’t, works out to be good. This also helps eliminate conservatism most of the times, which hinders the lifestyle of a woman.

The effect of a woman who is empowered enough on a woman who isn’t, works out to be good. This also helps eliminate conservatism most of the times, which hinders the lifestyle of a woman. Today, it is important for a girl to know her surroundings. This is possible only if she is allowed to move out. This again is partially dependent upon her mother, and if she knows it’s right, opportunities increase for the daughter resulting in her empowerment.

Read More: Safety is the secret key to having autonomy on the internet

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