AK Ramanujan, poet and teacher, on the male-centred and women-centred Indian folktales:
In male-centred tales a hero is featured prominently and moves out of the parental family in search of adventures. The hero may start out with a sense of rivalry with his father, kill or master an ogre (a father figure!), win princesses from different worlds, befriend animals (often a bird of the air, a fish or crocodile of the waters, ants of the earth), undertake tasks in which these animals (or the women) help him, and then return victorious to receive recognition, a princess, a kingdom — or atleast half of one. Women are no more than pawns or prizes or helpers in his life’s game. His antagonists tend to be male, though a stepmother or ogress might also want to get rid of him. The story usually ends with a wedding.
Women-centred tales have a different focus. Saving, rescuing, or reviving a man, often solving riddles on his behalf, becomes the life-task of the heroine. In such tales, women predominate and men are wimps, ruled by mothers, mistresses, or wives. The antagonists are usually women — co-wives, sisters-in-law, stepmothers. Sometimes a male — a father, a brother, or a guru — may desire the heroine inappropriately and turn into her enemy. Her chief helpers also tend to be women. In contrast to the male-centred tale, marriage begins rather than ends the story; a separation ensues, and then a rescue of the male by the female.
— Folktales from India