Mumbai - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

As mentioned before, people of color will face discrimination to a greater extent. There is prevalent racism against Black folks and rampant Islamophobia. Although women are generally able to move freely in more cosmopolitan circles, independent single females are viewed with suspicion and disapproval by much of society outside of Mumbai. Indeed, many cases of gender violence in India have involved attacks on single women as some men perceive independent females as fair game for sexual conquest—consensual or otherwise. Mumbai is one of the safest cities in India for women; however, women must exercise extreme caution when traveling alone outside of the city. - Apr 2024

Yes, but I don't have personal experience, so I don't want to conjecture. - Jul 2023

There are lots of challenges in terms of gender equality. As a woman, be prepared for the male shopkeeper to tell you what you want and be dumbfounded when you tell him, "That is not what I want." Local women are expected to take care of the home, cook, and clean, even when they are the sole earner in the family. Violence against women is common, though not accepted out in the open. However, you hear horrific stories of women and even young girls being raped in their homes, or while walking at night. - May 2023

Darker skin folks are treated differently here. - Aug 2021

I haven't experienced any racism, but there is definitely sexism towards women in my opinion. - Nov 2020

Attitudes toward women are still evolving but better here than anywhere else in the country. Caste prejudices will also show up once in awhile. - Aug 2019

Depending on the political party in power, the country itself can take a hard pro-Hindi stance. However, in the streets in Mumbai, you have a lot of people from many religions (Hindi, Muslim, Catholic, Sikh), all going about their ways, right next to each other, every day. From our deck, we hear Muslim prayers at the same time as music for Hindu festivals is going on. There is a lot of religious diversity. - Mar 2019

Yes, the caste system. Among locals, one seems to see a lot of discrimination. - Jan 2019

Huge problem with hierarchy, specially caste based. The lower working class is treated quite badly by the upper class. - May 2018

The women I know were constantly groped and harassed by locals. I personally saw incessant, first-hand incidents of harassment, rape, and attempted rape of women, including by police. If you're a woman, avoid Indian men if you are alone. Remember: India is one of the last countries where it is legal to rape your wife.

There is prejudice against people with dark skin. I often had shopkeepers insist on serving me first because I'm white. It is blatant. - Jun 2017

Yes for religious. The Hindus don't like the Muslims, who don't like, etc.... Religion is a big deal here. Also, not as much here in Mumbai, but down south such as Goa, India has a problem with Nigerians. If you are African-American, they may assume you are Nigerian. But once you speak and the can tell by your accent that you are American, all is good. - Aug 2015

India is tough for women. Men still rule here and that has a way of popping up a lot. Mumbai has all religions you can imagine so in that sense it is quite nice. - Mar 2014

Lots. Dark skin is frowned upon. India is the largest market for 'fairness creams'. - Feb 2014

Unlike in North India, women have it much better here. They can wear western clothing, it is pretty safe for them. Religious tolerance is fine. I haven't seen much racism, but be prepared to be stared at continually since many do not know westerners. They are benign stares, but can annoy you after a while. - Aug 2013

African-Americans struggle with discrimination in many parts of India. Women of all ages and ethnicities attract unwelcome attention all over India, but blondes tend to suffer the most. There is a huge gender imbalance due to sex-selective abortions and female infanticide, which is not hard to see when looking around: men vastly outnumber women. Millions of men have no hope of ever finding a sexual partner, which leads to some of the highest rates of rape and sex slavery in the world. Women are often beaten by their husbands. Working with young girls in indian schools, I have heard many stories of physical and sexual abuse. Women are either hypersexual Bollywood stars or desexualized "mothers" and "sisters." Women are not respected as individuals with rights over their own bodies and their own sexuality. I will say that for a country of 1.3 billion people, India is remarkably tolerant when it comes to religious differences. There are churches, mosques, and temples co-existing quite peacefully. There are skirmishes, but for such a huge population, it works pretty well! And i think India IS moving in the right direction. It's not an easy place to live for a woman, but things are changing. People are outraged, and the media is focusing on violence against women more than ever before. - May 2013

Generally not for expats (unless you look South Asian). Within Indian society, there are deep divides and prejudices between different religious, ethnic, and caste communities. These occasionally surface as incidents of communal violence. - Feb 2013

Yes, there is a strong bias against women. People usually address my husband first and ask him any questions that are necessary. So far it hasn't bothered me very much (maybe because my husband isn't at all sexist). Sometimes I ignore the fact that they were talking to my husband and just answer anyway. In a weird way it can also make things easier for me. I can just sit back and let my husband deal with whatever the issue is. It's quite clear that women are much less valuable than men in Indian culture. - Dec 2010

I have not realized any. - Nov 2008

There are religious tensions between local groups. No overt prejudice against foreigners that I've seen. - Aug 2008

Heavy caste and religious divides in the city, and country. You typically wont encounter it during your normal routine, but the occasional protests, riots, beatings, and murders are available daily in one of the many newspapers here. - Jul 2008

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