You’re doing a PhD, How Will We Find You A Husband?

You're doing a PhD, How Will We Find You A Husband?

“You’re doing a PhD, How Will We Find You A Husband?”

I have heard varieties of this same exclamation countless times  & no, it’s not just a view taken from some S. Asian communities.

Yet each time, it’s been said, it has not sat right with me.

I’ve wondered how & whether to address it and finally I’ve come to realise, as with most things:

I have a voice & I’ll use it.

Because I’m not going to waste my opportunity to speak out on something that I feel so passionately about.

So here we are:

One of my most personal mosts yet and an insight into some of the pressure that a LOT of (Asian) girls go through, on some level or another.

“You’re doing a PhD, How Will We Find You A Husband?”

In a time where feminism is finally being acknowledged for what it is : equality across the genders

this statement saddens me.

Ultimately it represents a bruised masculine ego in a patriarchal society; where the man is seen to be the most educated, in control of the household and wife. Not only that, but the statement suggests that women should not be ever be given the responsibility to seek out their own life partner.

My only experience of a PhD has been in a biology based lab where many of my colleagues work 12+ hours. However, everyone that has been involved in doctoral work shares the same advice:

A PhD is difficult.

It will test every fibre of your being constantly, in all areas of your life.

It will expose you to the harsh realities of a misjudged professional world.

It will make you want to quit, on a daily basis for at least 1 year of your doctoral degree, if not more…

…until finally the resilience, strength and perserverence will (hopefully) amount to something somewhat credible.

You're doing a PhD, How Will We Find You A Husband?

“You’re doing a PhD, How Will We Find You A Husband?”

What you’re ultimately saying here is this:

This personal-development course, as I have chosen to see it, will make me less ‘desirable’ marriage material?

Well this is what I say to you :

“Thank goodness, for this self-inflicted ‘marriage filter'”.

Thank goodness that I can use it to my advantage because anyone who does not encourage equal opportunities between the genders is clearly not The One, my ideal match, or jeevansaathi [life partner].

& FYI, if you still insist on carrying on the search:

Can we just put a proud feminist on the list of ‘criteria’ as a non-negotiable?!

It’s easy to become hugely frustrated with the situation & point the blame.

However: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

Fear raises its gleeful head again & basks in all the conflict it has created.

From the male perspective, a ‘more educated’ female I think represents this:

fear of not being in control, fear of not being respected,

 & a fear of change 

Of ‘needing’ to find the woman her life partner :

fear she’ll make mistakes, fear she’ll be hurt by an ‘unsuitable’ match, 

& a fear of change

Ironically, I feel the only solution is education  & communication.

I mentioned this in my International Women’s Day post but the sentiment remains the same.

Change starts with ourselves, on an individual level.

Changing the way we discuss things with family & friends, at work or in business.

Overcoming the fear of change requires us to tackle this head-on.

Be Brave & Speak Up

I am beyond grateful that there are members of my family that have pulled me aside and said:

‘Ana (nya),

you educate yourself,

you become independent & THEN,

only THEN think about getting married,

if you want to.’

One uncle gifted me I Am Malala inscribed with :

Be a Brave Girl Ana

Our attitudes are changing & I am thankful for that.

But ultimately, this isn’t about whether a ‘PhD’ itself is the right course.

That is completely based on an individual level.

Access to the same level of education, without prejudice, should be available

The idea that educating girls to the same level and giving them equal opportunities is important.

AND NOT as a bonus point when it comes to ‘marrying them off’, hoping it will entice potential matches.

This shouldn’t be the reason for getting a good education.

The reason for giving everyone an access to good education is to enable everyone to become empowered:

to feel they can achieve, they can dream and aspire for greater things,

regardless of

where or how

they’ve been brought up thus far.

‘But it is was a joke’

Is the fact that the world is still unfair on so many levels, a joke to you?

Gender inequality is prevalent

& yes, I acknowledge,

there are also cases where the situation for men is not equal to women.

However the fact remains,

boys not only have better access to education


are encouraged to pursue their academic desires

more than girls.

‘But It was a joke.’


Even if you meant it as a joke.


Think about the consequences joking about a subject this important has.

Realise that a joke amongst friends & family, in front of impressionable minds leads to thinking particular attitudes are acceptable.

Think about where that idea and thought has stemmed from.

It’s stemmed from a patriarchal society, one that has such double standards across genders.

In this context, where girls are deprived of the same level of education:

Think for a moment about the world you want to bring your hypothetical daughter into.

Think about the opportunities you want her to have.

Or will you bury your head in the sand

& ‘wish & pray’ for a boy,

so you don’t have to think about these issues

that you fail to realise, affect us all

& require a concerted effort in order to bring about change?

I’d love to hear from you!

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Do you (dis)agree?

What do you think needs to be done to change this mindset?

Until The Next Time,

Namaste | from Ananya xo

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  • You go girl! Don’t let those comments affect you, they are BS 😉

    • Ah thank you! 😉 xx

  • astha

    As a fellow south asian and Indian this post resonated strongly with me

  • astha

    As a fellow south asian and an Indian this post resonated so strongly with me. You can be at a great university, poised for a phenomenal job, have a really full life with friends, adventures and travel but the marriage question never goes away. I really enjoy your blog and writing style. Not to mention your youtube videos-they are beautifully shot and edited and you have a very soothing voice.

    I recently started a blog to would love it if you checked it out-

    • Thanks so much; so lovely to hear that you found something you could relate to. And isn’t that right, there will ALWAYS be the marriage question…I guess in whatever society we live in!

      Those are such lovely compliments, thanks so much. I’m so happy to hear that, thank you! Of course, I look forward to checking out your blog 🙂 xx

  • That was such a lovely post! I love your writing style. You go girl! Let’s not care about what everyone else thinks! x

    • That’s so kind of you to say! Thank you Serena <3
      All the love xx