Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Vijaya Nagarajan

Second Advisor

Quỳn Pham


There is a growing use of religion as a political tool to control Hindu women in India, contributing to a rise in gender inequality. Immediate authoritative patriarchal domains such as household and politics, continuously speak of “protecting” Hindu women by disregarding their voices and needs. Consequently, potentially creating a loss of agency among women. This research will use inductive reasoning to understand the position of Hindu women in modern Indian society. Particularly, through the understanding of the involvement of religion in the political and household sphere. Hindu women are highly influenced by the expectations of what being an ”ideal” woman means in private and public spaces hindering decision-making power in the household, mobility, and control over resources. These have become barriers for women to achieve full autonomy in several realms of life. Therefore, this research will examine women’s voices and mobility which have been impacted by existing power structures and potentially eliminate patriarchal expectations that are ingrained within the religious, political, and household domains. In the findings I analyzed my field research and examined ways in which women are disempowered. In conclusion, I have made a provisional view of what can be perceived as ideas of empowerment in the Indian context.