And you would be right.. Karma is mainly centered around the male. The husband is expected to carry out the karma with the help of the wife.
Don't let this fool you into thinking that the female is unimportant for any karma.
As long as the person is not married, there is no restriction in what he has to do. But once he is married, the rest of the rich ones can be carried out only when the wife is present. Actually the sankalpa is done along with her. In some rituals like srouta karma the wife also does the sankalpa. Once the wife is dead, the person can no longer carry out most of the rituals.
So that for the bias.
One may ask how the ladies benefit from, karma yoga.
They benefit by carrying out that part of the duty by getting things ready for the rituals. Since they have a lot of household duty to look after at the same time, they are not burdened with any duties during the rituals.
The sastras are loaded against the males.
When the husband does any good karma, 50% of the punya goes to the wife. On the other hand if he does anything bad hundred percent of the papa remains with him.
One might expect, the wife to be treated similarly. But it is not so. Through any good karma, if any, punya arises hundred percent of that remains with her. If by chance she does anything wrong. 50% of the papa goes to the husband. Isn't that strange?
So let us not fool anybody claiming that the ladies are discriminated wrongly, they are discriminated, Yes, but see how!
Now back to the 40 purification rituals.
Of all these 40, the one and only karma that is done with any enthusiasm is the first one. Alas! It is done with enthusiasm for the wrong reasons. It is no longer a serious business with a view to get a good progeny, but carried out for fun.
The rest of the rituals have been slowly disappearing and taking a different form.
Ever since the invasion by the moguls, the kshatriyas have been fighting wars and slowly they have deviated from the vedic traditions. The vaisyas have been traveling to all corners of the world in search of wealth and have naturally deviated from the traditions and rituals. These two classes on account of these, learn and practice the Vedas no more.
Actually the fourth class, that of workers were not expected to follow the Vedic tradition, but follow the family traditions which they do admirably even today.
The Brahmins had departed from the Vedic tradition to a large extent, and have gone on to seek money, position and power. When they did that they lost the respect of the society. So many reasons are cited for this deviation right from lack of support of the society for vedic studies to active antagonism. Much debate has arisen as to who is a Brahmin. Going by strict definitions we can hardly count any. Still there are a lot of people who have the potential to be a Brahmin.
Let us not get into any debate as most of them are non-productive or counter-productive. Let each of us present question ourselves what our duties are and try to do that. The problems arise when you start deciding what others duties are. Let us not get into that trap.