On gender bias

We carry the legacy of gender based environment. We behave similarly based on similar beliefs. Instead of talking about gender based stuff , let’s create an ecosystem which enrich their thinking and experiences.

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

Many times it is taken for granted that it is all about gender and even though many of us do not want to have any gender 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? All boys 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.

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.

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?”.

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.