Published: DNA | May 24, 2016 | Tanushree Bhatia
STUDY OF WOMEN BIKERS ACROSS INDIA
The study implies that the lines between gender roles and traits are changing
Indian women are motivated by their quest for freedom, independence and empowerment when it comes to riding bikes and consuming ‘masculine’ products. A study, ‘Discovering role of social media in gendering products: Case of women in ‘Bikerni Community’ in India’, found this. The paper was presented at IIM Indore during an international peer review research conference held this month.
The aim was to explore how social media shapes the consumption pattern and motivates women to take up bike riding in India, said Dr Varsha Jain, assistant professor, MICA. Along with her, the paper has been co-authored by Kriti Bharadwaj, former student of MICA; Amrita Bansal, FOM scholar and Dr Vivek Natarajan, associate professor, Lamar University, Texas.
“As per our research, their motivations would include at least one of the following: family as influencer, empowerment through medium of motorcycles, social media, brand associations and more,” said Kirti.
The study found that freedom, independence and empowerment are the key drivers for women to indulge in ‘high masculine products’. The support of family and close-knit communities like Bikerni enhances women’s confidence and provides them space to express themselves. The study implies that masculine brands should understand how gender roles are changing and how the line between male and female traits is blurring. Brands can use social media communication to build their image.
The study based on qualitative methodology had 30 in-depth interviews of women bikers who are part of ‘bikerni’ community. These women are from 10 different Indian cities.
The Bikerni group is an association for female motorcyclists with pan-India presence. There are approximately 700 bikernis from various cities.
“Indian women are redefining the concept of femininities against newer dimensions. They are redefining gender roles,” said Dr Varsha Jain, asst prof, MICA.
“All bikers I talked to had their own stories and experiences. They had a lot of camaraderie. Their stories were different but coherent in so many ways,” said Kirti Bharadwaj, co-author of the paper.