By Sahiba Bhatia
The Economic Survey of India is out. And it is pink. And it’s ruining the colour for us again.
Presented at the parliament, the 2017-18 Economic Survey of India is an annual overview of the state of the Indian economy. This year the document, tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, recommended that India confront the country’s societal preference for sons and the colour pink was chosen as a symbol of support for the movement to end violence against women. The survey also laid special emphasis on indicators related to gender like percentage of working women which has declined over time from 36 percent in 2005-06 to 24 percent in 2015-2016.
While the focus on gender is admirable and most certainly crucial, did the makers of the survey really have to use the color pink while presenting it?
In an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Ross is on a quest to find his pink shirt that he euphemizes as ‘salmon’ coloured to defend himself in front of his friends. His friends tease him for wearing a shirt with such an ‘effeminate’ color.
Despite my never-ending love for the hit show, I remember feeling quite sad about this odd prejudice. About this ridiculous tendency of people to aggressively attach the color pink with women. I blamed the 90’s mentality and hoped that feminism would win and eventually cause this cliché to just disappear.
It’s the 21st century and looks like not much has changed.
Before you say this is nitpicking, let’s focus on how important the issues are that the policymakers are tackling.
The press release says “The Survey states that just as India has committed to moving up the ranks in Ease of Doing Business indicators, a similar commitment should be endeavored on the gender front.” Clearly, India’s policymakers are trying hard to focus on gender but why get caught up in stereotypes while you’re at it? Many women absolutely adore the colour pink. And many don’t. So, why does everything from reserved compartments in metros to the country’s Economic Survey have to be painted the same colour to prove that they’re somehow more suited to women? From pink autorickshaws to pink footballs, why does anything aimed at women have to be pink?
Also, would our Finance Ministry have used this color oh-so-confidently in the regular economic survey?
I highly doubt it, because only this one is specifically about gender, no?