On gender bias

Its common to hear
 
Boys are not beautiful, girls are beautiful, boys are handsome
Girls are girls
Boys are naughty
Girls are soft
Boys don’t cry
Boys are aggressive
She is like boys
He is shy like girls
 
It is also common to hear
Equal rights for girls
Gender bias
Men should respect women
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Many times it is taken for granted that it is all about gender and even though many of us do not want to have anygender bias environment, we end up creating an environment which label girls as girls and boys as boys :). Also many of us grew with that “pink is a girl's color and cant see "men" wearing pink:) a belief we grew up with amongst others and unconsciously passing to our children.  Here are some subtle things we can do at home and at schools to create a learning environment.
 
Questioning - When we hear “boys are naughty, boys trouble, they spoil the laptops when “they” play video games”.
  • Question such comments - (not to change but to think).  What does it mean to trouble? How does playing video games spoil laptop? Is it video games or is it handling of laptops? What is naughty? Does trouble means physical hurt or teasing? Is it only boys or only girls? or all or some……..and so on. Ask question to stimulate thinking or think about different perspective not to answer what is questioned. The questioning is not to question a person but a thought.
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Environment  - When the environment is led by gender bias - “boys cannot do that, girls cannot play cricket”.
  • Sometimes question, sometimes create opportunities to experience something different for me. Encourage peer to peer learning which is not gender to gender learning. When doing cooking or painting or wrestling or repairing or dance activities, invite or create constraint for various genders to take part - this is to create experience, not to ensure that they change their beliefs.
 
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At home
  • Switch roles to decide what will be cooked today, where to invest, who to take leave when a child is sick, who will coordinate with helpers at home, laundry, repair of car and so on.
  • Switch roles when a guest comes home - to chat with guest and to arrange all the food?
  • Some of the work at home are naturally comfortable for us - switch roles to experience challenge.
  • Switch roles to attend parent-child day(PCD) or parent child review at school.
  • Arrange all gender sleepover party :).
  • When a child shares “boys do that and girls that” - ask for specific “is it only one or few or all? Is it “sometimes, few times, few times or always?”.
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Do not switch roles to teach your children gender equality - just do it for yourself to experience. Rest, allow them to choose from various options available to them. The idea is not to change their beliefs rather we can create an environment which can lead to thinking and experiencing. We can create many options for our children to choose and allow them to choose what they want.
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