There are countless things to talk about when it comes to gender equality and supporting women. But how do we ensure that our future generations, our kids are raised to know the true meaning of gender equality? To make sure that they do not just talk about it but also follow the same in their day-to-day lives. Every deed that we want to do should start from home. That is the cocoon where the foundation is built and we need to start right there just like we teach everything else.
Let’s see how we can implement some simple steps at home.
No work is gender assigned
Cooking to cleaning, taking care of kids and elderly, all of this and more is mainly done by women of the house. They have always been at the frontline when it comes to household work as they mostly are the caregivers. Some partners do help out but men being at work all the time and in the current scenario, online all the time has not been helpful.
Make sure that your kid does not consider it as gender assigned. Home is for moms and work is for Dads. Divide the household work between all the family members. When has it been compulsory that only a woman should cook or clean, right! I and my husband have our specialities when it comes to cooking. He can make Asian food and stir-fries way better than me. So my kid knows who to go to when she wants some stir-fried noodles and whom to come to for a bowl of pasta or aloo paratha.
Assign daily chores to kids as well. Make sure they understand the importance and why they need to play a role in it. Kids can help in dusting and tidying up around the house, fold laundry. Help plan/prep a meal and make a salad.
Gender stereotyping must be explained
There are couples who work, then there are couples where men work and women are homemakers while there are also couples where women work and men are homemakers. I’m sure it didn’t come as a surprise to you but you also need to make sure it doesn’t surprise your child either. Having age-appropriate conversations on gender stereotyping is very important. Some logical conversations with a mix of real-life examples can make that work easily. Children are great learners you see!
Gender is not an excuse
I have a son in the toddler phase who wants everything his way. He has recently figured out that screaming and crying can get things done just the way he wants. Every person around us says “Boys will be boys”. They are bound to be naughty and violent but is that a good excuse for misbehavior? Can I let my daughter think that just because she is a girl she has to be her best self while her brother can do whatever he likes because he is a boy? That is so wrong in many ways. We cannot generalize behavior depending on gender right! Gender should definitely not be an excuse.
Respect one’s feelings in spite of gender
Practice feminist parenting which demands to respect one’s feelings in spite of the gender of your child. Boys should not cry and girls should not punch. Gone are the days when these cliches were used. A boy can cry when he wants to and a girl can punch back when she is hurt. Not that she should but it should be both ways.
Respect the choices that your child makes
Toys are never gendered specific but somehow dolls and kitchen sets have been attached with girls while cars and trucks for boys. But when it comes to a doctor set, both can have them. Why so?? A child can play house with dolls or race some cars while cooking with a kitchen set. While another child may reject all of these and play only with a set of blocks. We need to learn to respect our children’s choices. It is their imagination that is going to help them grow and toys just aid in that.
Practicing what you preach is also important. Parents are the most important role model for children so make sure you are practicing gender equality rather gender neutrality at home. After all, the change will start at home and will ripple into their lives making them better person respecting other people irrespective of their gender.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.