A while back the ideal bride would have a certain set of qualities which were in demand by the Rishta market also known as “the in-laws” of our society. The qualities included, a fair skin tone, a command of all the house chores, willingness to give up on any future plans or carrier prospects that one might have for oneself, being prepared to have the first child within the first year, and basically continuing to denounce any right over your body for the rest of your life.
Things have changed now, we have the technology, and the world is working on ideas like paid maternity leaves, reducing gender pay gap, an equal involvement of the male counterpart in household activities etc; but we have another very interesting demand put forward by our generous society. The trend over here in the subcontinent has changed in a way that the “perfect” bride checklist had this new category which is that the bride should also be an MBBS doctor.
No don’t let that fool you into believing that the families can be tolerant of educated thought in the household, or that they would accept their daughter in law to be working as a doctor after marriage, no!, that is outrageous, the bride needs to be a doctor because that’s the new cool thing in town.
In short the females are expected, No, ‘required’ to have an MBBS degree for which they give up on so much before marriage, work hard to get that shinning 90% to be able to get into medical school (which is an entirely different challenge) , maintain her sanity in the next five years in med school and deal with the burden it bestows upon its students. She has to get that MBBS degree so that the mother in law can flaunt around about her in her circle, “yes she’s very bright, she has an MBBS degree”, and obviously “no no she won’t be practicing, after all her house needs to be the first priority”.
The best use her degree is put to is when she is seen checking the mother in law’s blood pressure and giving vague medical advice or reassurance to those in family undergoing any treatment.
The epidemic of “the doctor bride” phenomenon is increasing day by day, while the medical colleges have a rough ratio of 70:30 of women to men enrolled, the practicing doctor’s curve reduces dramatically when the female students get married and give up on their profession to take care of the family.
The problem is the coercion of the women into making this choice, of her seen as the “selfish mother”, “self-absorbed wife” in case she voices the thought of continuing with her profession. A medical degree being a qualification for a better family life, and hence being in demand by the Rishta market makes no sense as it not only does damage to the medical profession but also paves way to internalize misogyny even further, because if a family bossing around a woman is seen ideal, a family bossing around an educated woman seems to have its own charm.
It turns into degree dowry, whose value is of that trophy. Collected, but not to be cashed.