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Symbolic Role Models and Identity Patterns of Indian Women


  • Parikh Indira J
  • Garg Pulin K


This paper attempts to focus on the symbolic role models available and internalized by Indian women. These role meals as internalized by Indian women determines the nature of social role taking in the society as well managerial roles in formal work organizations. This paper identifies five symbolic models from the cultural role as influencing women’s role taking and crystallization of identity. These five models are: a) the apple and the stigma, b) the accomplished and the trickster, c) the innocent and the seducer, d) the lost and the unfulfilled, and e) the realist and the exiled. In today’s context these role models provide Indian women with fragmented insights into the unexplored areas of being women. However, it does not give freedom to women to make new responses. In the context of formal work organizations it is critical for Indian women to discover new frames of identity and role models. They may provide women new processes to transcend the traditional social milieu and create space for themselves in the social system. They may then define new roles and trigger new processes within the formal work systems. In the final analysis women can stop experiencing themselves as captives of the social traditions and role prescriptions. Women then can arrive at cross-roads and discover multiple alternatives and make choices with courage and convictions both in their home and work settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Parikh Indira J & Garg Pulin K, 1987. "Symbolic Role Models and Identity Patterns of Indian Women," IIMA Working Papers WP1987-11-01_00793, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:iim:iimawp:wp00793

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