MUMBAI: The lives of India’s women are changing, but the country’s advertising industry isn’t moving in response, according to a senior agency executive.

According to Sakshi Choudhary, creative controller at Ogilvy & Mather India, there is a clear disconnect between the new Indian woman and how the advertising industry perceives her to be.

Twenty percent of the world’s young women live in India, the enrolment rate in secondary education for girls has doubled in the last ten years and 40% of women in India are now active bank account holders.

Choudhary told the recent ZEE MELT Conference that the new Indian woman is creating her own path in life. (For more on better understanding India’s women, read WARC’s report: How to portray India’s modern women in advertising.)

“Currently, the Indian woman is treated as an object, a homemaker, or as an instantly-empowered woman. But the majority of Indian women do not fall under any of these three categories,” Choudhary stated.

“She is individualistic, she is making choices of her own free-will, she is bold, confident, she is definitely not ready to compromise. And she is ambitious. She is paving her own way despite the circumstances she is living in.”

A survey conducted by the Government of India states that on average, 74% of household purchase-decisions are being made by women. In the cities, this number goes up to 90%.

Women are also showing their influence in categories traditionally dominated by men: 60% of decisions on car purchases in India are made by women; 92% of vacations, 51% of consumer electronics − a category which assumes men make the purchase-decisions − and 74% of home-buying decisions are being made by women too. Of those, 32% are single women who are buying houses in the eight top cities in India.

“(Mothers) have been victims of the patriarchy for too long. They are supporting their daughters – they realise that the only way their daughter’s life would be different than theirs is if they provide them education and economic freedom,” Choudhary said.

“In fact, mothers are turning out to be the best role-models for their daughters. So we can either wait for women to catch up or we can be a part of their growth story right now.”

Sourced from WARC