Gender and suicide in India: a multiperspective approach

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Spring 1998;28(1):50-61.


The gap between male and female suicide rates in India is relatively small. However, society's views on female and male motives are quite different. In order to investigate the perceptions of male and female suicide, we interviewed a focus group of university professors as well as police inspectors, crime reporters, and hospital nurses in Bangalore. We also obtained four narratives of suicide. Women tended to be blamed for their own or their husband's suicide, although they were also viewed more often as victims of life adversities than men. A historical review illustrates that both men and women have been associated with culturally sanctioned suicides. One known form is sati, and we discuss the recent case of sati-murder of Roop Kanwar in 1987. The social sciences and the media also pay a lot of attention to the typical female suicides, symbolizing their role as martyrs of society, which seems to compensate for attribution of blame.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Single Person
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data