How I Teach My Daughter About Gender Equality
Exposure of Gender Equality
In this rapidly developing world children are exposed to negative behaviors shown on TV and social media from the moment they enter school. So, I was greatly worried that she will also be trapped up in social hierarchies in her very little age.
Of course, I knew that the environmental factors would have a great impact on my kid. And that just the thought was not enough. I realized that deliberate action against this is very essential to bring her up in a good manner.
How to Promote Gender Equality
The day I gave birth to my baby in 2015, we looked at our baby girl, and after the initial moments of joyous emotional outbreak, among the first few thoughts and the first few responsibilities that came to mind, one very important thing was to never let gender partiality affect her. We realized that we had the perfect opportunity to raise her alike, same rules, same freedom and so on.
My daughter had an opinion that her dad will earn from outside and brings his earnings and takes care of things outside the home, and my job is in home i.e., cooking, cleaning house, taking care of her, and teaching her. I was aghast. I thought this should somehow be changed. I know that it is my role to change this gender stereotype my daughter had. This may affect her future.
Whenever someone asks my girl about her dad and me, she will simply say that, “My dad is going to hospital to give injection to his patients as he is a doctor and my mom is cooking at home.”
This pushed me to become more independent. I learned how to ride a two-wheeler and took charge of paying bills and financial planning on my own. Even though it was tough, I did it. I also started sharing about my work with my daughter, showing her what I did, even though it was from home. “Now she tells to anyone who asks about me that her smart Mamma has a home office and earns a good income,” I am very proud.
As I was not interested in the physical contrasts between boys and girls, I asked my daughter whether she and her classmates had thoughts that there were differences between boys and girls. She was thinking for a while.
After a moment she said that, that makes more sense.
I asked gender questions to her such as: Who is smarter? Who raise their hands more? Who is better at sports: girls or boys?
Her reply was like this, “Boys get in trouble more, but it depends who it is.
Girls, always likes to wear makeup, a lot of them, and boys don’t, and in the classroom, girls always prefer to gossip about what others are wearing like nail polish colors, earrings, teacher’s costume etc.,”
“Boys are usually stronger or faster, they can lift anything easily.”
She will say to me that her dad is very strong, so he can do hard things easily, but I can’t do like him.
So, this made me know that stereotypes are forming even in elementary school, which was not a surprise, I thought that the best way to promote about gender equality is to keep talking with her. I do not give lectures to her. When I spot a hidden or explicit message in a movie or on TV, I casually talk about it later to her. She has surprised me by her questions. I use to show her good programs and movies in TV that teaches good moral values to her.
It helped to reinforce the message into her, when a TV show or movie showed people breaking stereotypes in real situations or a fictional setting.
The best thing I wanted to do is really poke holes in all those things. Instead of hiding all the magazines with the ads which made me think, “That is not what women look like,” I open those magazines, point out those ads and say, “can you believe this? Tell me what you think is erroneous with this image. What do women really look like?”
Stereotypes set at an early age
This gender stereotyping should be reinforced “every hour of every day” through online, on television and in games, songs and books. I educate my kid about gender equality by never using gender as an excuse for behavior.
I try to avoid reinforcing traditional gender roles. I will teach her that girls can take out the garbage, and boys can clean dishes in the kitchen. Both boys and girls can express and discuss their feelings and emotions and can cry when they are sad.
I will never stereotype children’s traits such as boys are loud and noisy, girls are calm and sweet.
Another way I opt to shatter gender stereotypes is to explain traditional male and female employment roles and showing her the example, such as a woman who works as a firefighter and a man who is working as a nurse.
I will provide my daughter with toys and ask her to play with neighborhood boy so that she does not feel any difference between boys and girls. I always select clothing for her that boys can wear.
I would tell my daughter that she can do anything she wants to do. Just because she is a girl, it does not mean that she cannot do the same things and she can’t like the same things.
I would say that some girls are better at some things, and some boys are better than girls at other things.
I personally feel that gender is different from a person’s biological sex. Their gender is the way they feel and act according to roles learnt by them and social expectations.
So, I wish every parent should become more aware of rigid gender stereotypes and consciously question their existence, necessity and impact, and teach gender equality to their kids at their early age.
About Rohini Vijay
I have been married for 6 years now. I'm a Mommy to a busy girl named Ishitha. She is now 4.8 years old. I'm a full-time mommy. My daughter keeps me busy always. She is very kind to everyone and a happy child always. So, I feel that I'm very lucky to have her in my life. I enjoy reading books, love to hear music and I engage myself in blogging at my leisure time.
This is personal experience and point of view of Mrs Rohini Vijay as a mother. Happy Motherhood does not take responsibility for the contents and those not necessarily represent point of view of Happy Motherhood