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Connotation of leisure and leisure activities among urban Indian middle-class working women
Leisure Studies  (IF2.949),  Pub Date : 2021-07-26, DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2021.1942519


Little is known about leisure consumption among professional women in emerging economies like India in contrast to extensive research on this topic in the West. This group of professional women, however, is of growing economic and social clout within their countries with increasingly important ramifications for the choices they take, including leisure. This study aims to understand meanings and expressions of leisure among urban Indian middle-class working women. Using a phenomenological approach, 28 urban Indian middle-class women working in Bangalore from varied sectors, belonging to different age groups and at diverse life-stages, were interviewed in-depth between the period of July 2017 and September 2018. The analysis showed that leisure activities among urban Indian middle-class working women strike a delicate balance between individual and social fulfilment. The activities were varied and performed for passion, health and well-being, commitment and fun. Two new meanings of leisure emerged from the study: being with myself and being stress-free. It was seen that this group of working women are actively negotiating a new balance – the work–leisure balance – between demands of their work-life and their own need for personal leisure. These new meanings, reflective of newly empowered gender roles in the changing socio-economic environment of emerging economies, saliently extend our understanding of gendered meaning of leisure.