“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”
-Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Gender Sensitized Homes
“Eat like a man”
“Don’t weep like a girl”, “You are a boy, how come you like pink”
Don’t jump around, behave like a girl”
If you, as a parent have ever used such phrases to address your kids, or have ever heard anyone else comment but you have chosen to ignore, then here are the two mantras: Gender Sensitization has to begin with home; It takes a sensitized parent to raise a sensitized kid. Yes, we have come a long way. Role and Position of a girl child are no more subordinated to that of the other gender. Nevertheless, patriarchy being the societal norm, one will have to pay heed to the nuanced ways of gender discrimination existing in our society in general and in our households in specific. While gender violence has hit alarming levels, it becomes crucial to create ideal gender sensitized homes and there lies your responsibility as a parent.
What is Gender Sensitization?
Gender sensitization is a process or a set of efforts taken to examine and change behavior, attitude and beliefs that we hold about our own and the other gender. It is about understanding gender relations and promoting gender equality in society.
An ideal home is the one which comprises both male and female members of equal value without either of their roles being devalued. Gender bias exists at all levels but at the least we must begin sensitization in our homes, for there can be no ideal place for moral education than our homes.
It’s high time to break stereotypes!
Gender sensitization can begin with assigning the same roles and responsibilities to both your son and daughter. Let them both divide works in the kitchen; let them both go shopping together; let them both help with sorting out the monthly budget.
Parents should also encourage their kids to break stereotypes that enforce norms against their desire. Let the son play with dolls if he likes; let the daughter choose drums over violin as per her passion. You should educate your kids to question these kinds of forced stereotypes and train them to be able to take uncompromised decisions as per their skills and interests.
Are you the role model?
While talking about assigning equal roles to your kids, it is equally important for parents to share works as well, to take decisions mutually and to treat each other with respect.
It is very important that you constantly bring debates and discussions in your home on gender equality. There might also be instances when your kids end up educating you on several aspects which you might not be aware of.
As a parent, you will also have to be very conscious of not setting up a wrong example by passing off sexist jokes/comments, subordinating your partner or exhibiting partial preference on one kid over the other.
Yes, we as a human race are divided. But these natural differences can’t be taken for granted to perpetuate discrimination in a civilized society. Then we as a society are failing. And you, as a parent in bringing up a responsible citizen, are failing as well. Imbibe equality as your core principle so will your kid.