Gender Equality Starts in the Home
Gender equality begins at home, and there could not have been a better time than the pandemic to put it into practice. With lockdown being the new normal ever since the pandemic struck in 2020, most men have been performing their professional duties from home. This shift has given them a first-hand experience of how women at their home juggle between their professional and domestic duties. From breaking down gender stereotypes to becoming caregivers, and enlightening kids about gender equality and women’s rights, here are a few ways in which gender equality can begin at home:
Engage your kids in gender specific discussions at home
Talk to your kids about women’s rights and gender equality, and what efforts are to be put in to bring about a gender-equal world. They must be made to understand that human beings are equally vulnerable irrespective of gender and the dichotomy of a tough father and a soft mother isn’t necessarily true across the board. Empower your kids, especially girls, to voice their opinions on gender equality.
Assign the role of caregivers to boys from an early age
Women globally, perform more than twice the unpaid care work at home than men. This deprives young girls and women not just of equal opportunities for education and formal paid work but also enough time to rest and rejuvenate themselves. Instead, equally dividing the house chores and care work between males and females must be the first step towards achieving gender equality. Delegate the housework and caregiving role to boys from a very early age, along with girls.
Breaking Stereotypes, including your own
Social conditioning has a major role to play in stereotyping gender constructs and indoctrinating the minds of children in the name of ‘acceptable behaviour’ from a very young age. Researchers, in fact, state that children tend to adapt to gender stereotypes by the age of 3, limiting their world to shrink for girls and expand for boys by age of 10. So, it is important to initiate conversations on gender roles from early on and challenge the stereotypes attached to gender at home and society outside.
Put an end to Body shaming
Body shaming is an established behaviour in society that expects you to match up to a certain beauty standard or physical appearance. Thus, parents must lead by example and be cautious to be not critical of body image, and reject any obnoxious, sexist stereotypes of unrealistic body standards. Children must be taught that looks don’t matter but actions do and encourage them to embrace diversity by introducing them to role models irrespective of gender, colour, and ethnicity.
Listen and Learn from the Children
The 1.8 billion strong global youth today has been at the forefront of voicing out on global issues such as climate change, education, human rights, gender equality and more, that affect them and the world. They represent enormous talent and potential to build a better future. For that, we need to give them a patient hearing, and perhaps learn from them.
India had ranked 112th out of 153 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index 2020, which slipped to 140th place out of 156 countries in 2021, making it the third-worst performer in South Asia. There has been a steady decline in female participation and opportunities in the labour market, political empowerment, educational attainment, health, and survival leading to a further widening of the gender gap. Although policies are being put in place for a gender-inclusive recovery, gender equality truly begins at home.
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