Many of us talk about gender equality and we support it, raise our kids accordingly and how everyone should amplify this thought. But have you heard about gender blindness and how unknowingly even you can be one of those people with no knowledge about it?
“Gender blindness” is the lack of awareness about how men and women are affected by a situation in a different manner due to the difference in their roles, needs, status and priorities and biologies in their societies. Gender blindness can be very harmful and work as a fuel to further increase the issue of gender inequality by ignoring the differences between different genders. It is also an ideology for some who choose not to see the differences.
Gender blindness has become one of the biggest challenges for women in the modern world. When talking about men against women, the word “equality” is used alot to show support towards women but is that actually helpful?
Consider this, two people are asked to oversee something over a wall. One of them is tall while the other one is shorter than average. Since it is impossible to look over the wall, both of them are provided a small stool to stand upon. The taller person with the help of the stool is easily able to see over the wall but a similar stool provided to the shorter person is still of no use. This is what equality does to the shorter person. Do you think he or she will be happy? This where equality fails and there is a need for equity. Equality gives a group of people the same resources while equity recognizes each person’s circumstances and provides proper resources to achieve the desired goal. The need for equity must be emphasized.
In this modern world, gender blindness is becoming more of a problem than gender equality. It’s become the best way to sweep all issues related to women right under the rug. Women and men have different needs and they need to be met in different ways. This is where equity goes a step beyond to make everyone get an equal level playing field. Giving women the same resources as men will not be helpful in every situation and so it needs to be considered that women need extra support than men.
When it comes to the workplace, it is the responsibility of organizations to make changes in their policies and make sure that they empower women through equity for their success. The HR department of an organization plays a vital role in bringing changes in the policies but such changes might take decades to be considered and then accomplished. Employers should consider hiring anti-racist, pro-women and trans-friendly people for their HR team. At workplaces, awareness and practicing equity within every department by each team member might result in small changes needed to create a bigger wave. Studies show that this will address the gap which is related to salary, self-confidence, and overall performance. This will ensure not just fairness but fairness with success.
We as a society need to work and uproot these prejudices to have a better future. Working towards gender equity will bring a positive change and benefit every gender.
This post is part of Blogchatter‘s campaign CauseAChatter.
Most of us have wasted food at one point or the other, knowingly or unknowingly. You might have taken a lot on your plate than you could consume and then the leftover ended up in trash. Out of love, you served a few bites more than your child could finish and then they left it. Some greens have been in the fridge for too long and before you could use them, they got spoiled.
You might think that we throw away food occasionally and the quantity is too less, but do you know, there is a significant amount of food waste generated in our homes. According to Food Waste Index Report 2021, around 50 kg of food is thrown away per person every year in Indian homes. Shocking right!! This has been an ongoing problem for decades which is just increasing with time. It was only when Covid-19 pandemic hit us that we understood the importance of it all when during the lockdown procuring vegetables and groceries got difficult.
Getting food to your plate is also a lengthy process. Food is grown, processed, packaged, transported, marketed and finally sold. Food also gets wasted during this process. For example, some pests attack the crop or the crop is damaged during transport or it gets spoiled sitting on the aisle at the supermarket because nobody bought it. All that gets dumped too. During the lockdown phase, farmers lost most of its crop to dump as they were not able to bring it to the market.
What happens to all this food that is being spoiled or wasted? All that goes into landfills and rots. As it rots, it produces a greenhouse gas called methane. Greenhouse gases are present in the Earth’s atmosphere. When sunlight hits the Earth surface, it reflects back into space but some of it turns into heat and is supposed to reflect back as well. Greenhouse gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, prevent the heat from escaping into space and thus warming the planet thus affecting our climate.
Food wastage also heavily contributes to emission of greenhouse gases and each one of us who has thrown away even a spoonful of leftover food or let a vegetable/fruit spoil away in the refrigerator is responsible for it. Meat and dairy products have much higher emissions than fruits and vegetables. We tend to take our food for granted and that needs to change.
We need to curb the greenhouse gases emission and reducing food wastage is the easy fix that can de done right away in our homes.
1.Buy the food you need just for 2-3 days so they don’t spoil and we throw away less.
2. A little imperfection in appearance of fruits should also be accepted so that it does get spoiled away with the seller itself and get thrown away. Consider making smoothies or jams with them. Use them in your baking or blending dishes.
3. Make sure to store all the food products in a proper way in the refrigerators and air-tight containers so they stay fresh for longer and are not rotten and eventually dumped. Make proper use of the freezer section to store meat products to increase at their shelf life.
4. The peels, shoots and roots of fruits and vegetables can be composted for your home garden. It makes a great DIY project for adults and a wonderful way of learning for kids.
5. Another way of using roots and shoots is to make vegetable broth out of it or use them in the main dish itself. For example, gobhi danthal sabzi from Punjab uses cauliflower stalks and Bengali ucche pata bora are bhajjias/fritters made out of bitter gourd leaves.
6. Instead of planning a delicacy out of the blue, it is always better to plan in advance and make meals with ingredients already available in your refrigerator. Planning meals for a few days or a week also helps a lot.
7. Portion control. Take one serving of food that you are sure to finish. Go for a second serving if needed. Make sure to do that with your kids as well.
8. Leftovers should not be thrown away. Use the leftover vegetable to make cutlets or parathas. Dal paratha also tastes really well. Leftover rotis/chapatis make an excellent rolls with just an addition of egg and some flavoring sauces.
9. The food scraps that cannot be eaten can be fed to animals nearby.
10. If going to restaurants, make sure to take-away the leftovers and either bring them home or give it away to the needy and make sure they don’t sleep another night on an empty stomach. Great of you could add in another dish onto it and not just leftovers.
11. Talk to the community around you and share the knowledge. Awareness is the first big step!
Take small steps like these and you will make a difference. Small changes will yield big results with time.
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.
Are you an only child or do you have a sibling? Haven’t you heard (parent or not) at some point of time that an only child is a spoiled one? That they are too stubborn and do not share. They do not socialize especially when things don’t go as per their way. Compromises are a big No! There are chances that they might grow up being a lone wolf. When these traits were studied it got a name. Only Child Syndrome.
Lets see what researchers and psychologists have to say about Only Child Syndrome. Is it real or just a myth?
Only children have stereotypes and are very familiar with many people. I myself have seen many kids who because of being single have been pampered by their parents and families. They are adviced to have another child just to get the only child down to earth of I may say so…
This syndrome came into existence somewhere in the late 1800s when child psychologists G. Stanley Hall and E. W. Bohannon used a questionnaire to study different traits in children. They concluded that children without siblings possessed a long list of negative behavioural traits. They both were firm with their idea and also pushed that children are better off with siblings.
Some researches that took place later on, did agree with Hall and Bohannon while some researchers found some flaws in their study and called Only Child Syndrome a myth.
There might be some truth in it though. A new study suggested that to some degree, these conventions are true. Only children didn’t score as well as participants with siblings in the personality trait known as agreeableness. The differences were interestingly seen to be wired in the structure of the brain itself. It’s surprising that there can be a correlation between personality and neurology but the study says that that the environment we grow up in does affect us, and maybe right down to our brain cells.
But that doesn’t mean that single child in a family lags in everything. There are pros and cons on both sides.
The researchers wanted to study the psychological and neurological conditions, so they looked at college students who were only child in China, a country which has been under one-child policy for more than 30 years. They compared the intelligence, personality and creativity scores of participants being only child to participants with siblings. Even their brain scans were compared to find structural differences.Lets see what they found out in their research.
Neurological differences were also found as there were differences in the structures of their brains.
Only children have better relationship with their parents but that again depends on the parents and the place where they reside. According to the study in China, families from urban areas where parents were both working, the only child went through low love awareness, depression, trait anxiety and dependency as compared to urban children with siblings. Low love awareness can result in negative mental health according to the analysis.
Not much difference was found in rural only and non-only children.
As the saying goes, “You need a village to raise a child”. It seems that it is true after all.
Another fact that I came across through a friend in my Engineering days who was an only child. During a discussion, he shared that he did have a great relationship with his parents, more with his mother specifically and mom was a home-maker. But he did have an imaginary friend upto a certain age and preferred that company. He said he wished that he would have a sibling.
All this sounds a bit too harsh and maybe scary, right! But it definitely shows that it does affect a child’s mental well-being. That doesn’t mean that parents should jump in right away to have another child or that if you can’t, your only-child will definitely have issues. You will find people who will share that they are happy to be an only-child and are now parenting an only-child as well.
There are many ways to make sure that an only-child turns out to be a mentally healthy child.
1. Allow freedom
An only child mostly has a parent or a caretaker hovering over them all the time while siblings are left to play on their own. Only child should be allowed to play on their own as well which will help them develop their ideas. Give them their own space, their own freedom to grow.
2. Encourage individualism
Make sure to make the child understand that individualism is important and not always crave to be part of the crowd. Praise their individuality.
3. More and more playdates
Expose the child to more and more of social settings and give them chances to be around peers. Being around more kids can help them learn to interact.
4. Encourage passions
Get your kid involved into many activities and mostly outside the house where they are with peers and into social settings. They will not only find their interests but also develop a sense of self which is good for every child but especially onlies.
5. Learning compromise
This value needs to be taught from time to time. Something that onlies might not have to go through at home as there is no sibling to challenge them in different situations. Do not give them everything they ask unless it is necessary.
6. Healthy relationship with parents
Onlies or not, kids need to have a transparent relationship with their parents. They need their love and support from time to time but that does not mean you let everything go as a parent of an only child. Being their friend might not work every time but will help a great deal when being their secret sharer.
7. Do not swoop in every time
Every parent has the urge to protect their child in every situation but its healthy for them and especially for onlies to know how to navigate themselves in such situations and find their way out on their own.
8. Teach empathy
Kids with siblings learn this value as they have to consider them in every or many situations. Onlies need to be taught this by their parents. Create situations where they get to see and learn empathy. Volunteer at orphanages and old-age homes. Help friends and family when in need.
9. Be the encouragement
Onlies are kind of perfectionists as parents and grandparents praise them in everything they do. Whwther or not their work is good, all they get is praise. There is no immediate competition as such at home. They tend be more upset when they lack or fail at times. Make sure they take it all in a good way. They should learn to accept failures but as a parent instead of piling on their disappointments, make sure you encourage them when they fall.
10. Don’t make a mini version of you
Do not expect that all that you did not do or get in your childhood, the dreams that were not fulfilled will be completed by your child. That your child will probably turn out to be a doctor or an engineer or an artist. That is just your only child and not a second chance for your redemption.
If your a parent with an only child, don’t be stressed. Many children who are onlies are loving and compassionate and wonderful human beings. If your child does have some difficulties, know that you can always help them to get back in the right direction!
Our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi got the prestigious Global Goalkeeper Award for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. India has definitely improved its sanitisation coverage but we still have a poor waste management infrastructure.
We can help manage waste right from where it all starts and that is our home. The 3 important R’s that everyone talks about when we come across waste are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Now the question, why should we use the 3Rs? Once we dump our trash properly, our duty is over, right? Absolutely wrong!! The current population of India is 1,387,160,324 as of January 2021. Think about the amount of trash generated on daily basis, then weekly basis and yearly basis.
The 3Rs help our environment and keep our planet clean. They also make one’s life eco-friendly and sustainable. Don’t forget that it will save you some bucks as well. Thanks to books and Peppa Pig, kids already have an idea about it. But how can we make sure that even our kids implement it in their daily lives.
We need to make sure that they know how and when can they reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reducing is nothing but cutting back on the amount of trash we make. This is the best way to keep our earth clean. Making less trash means no need to clean the mess. You are tackling the problem at the start itself.
Pack your kid’s lunch in lunchbox instead of paper or plastic bag. Even if its a sandwich, do not use cling wrap. Instead of using small plastic use and throw containers for sauces, chutneys and pickles, do one time investment in reusable containers like Tupperware.
Make kids carry reusable shopping bags like cloth ones instead of using plastic bags or ending up buying paper bags at the supermarket. Some people do prefer to carry their own bags but only to the vegetable market or supermarket. When it comes to shopping at the mall, a reusable bag might not look nice but think about the difference are you making. Less buying of paper bags means less production and even lesser cutting of trees to make them. All in all, good for the environment.
Make sure kids turn off the lights of their room when not in use. They cannot see any waste made out of overusing or wasting electricity but a lot of work goes behind making it and we try to avoid that waste as well while saving some money over the electricity bills.
Make sure kids do not waste water by leaving the faucetsopen while brushing. Use water only as much as you require. Switch to plain old bath from a bucket instead of a shower or a bathtub. Lack of water issues are very well known to all that we face almost every year in India. We even have organisations who keep looking for donations to build hand-pumps with pipelines in small villages where water needs are hardly met.
Use vegetable skins to make soups and broth. Garlic skin, onion skin and peels from vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and gourds can be used in an excellent way by adding them to the pot of vegetable broth or bone broth. Boil them nice and good and then strain them away. You are left with a broth full of nutrition. Eggshells are high in calcium and can also be used in your garden. Orange and lemon peels when dried and powdered can be used in recipes and also as a scrub.
Reusing is to find new ways to make use of the trash instead of throwing it out. Lots of our kid’s stuff can be reused and in much better ways.
Donate your child’s clothes. Make sure your children are involved in this and Instead of throwing away the clothes that do not fit, hand them down to someone who will reuse them. Orphanages are happy to accept kid’s clothes which are in good condition.
Do not throw away old toys. Make sure you use them in good condition or repair them in a way that they can be used and donate them as well. Not every child receives a toy every time they do something good or have a birthday. Believe me, your child will be very happy to see another less fortunate child happy with their toy.
Clothes can be turned into toys. There are many small businesses doing this for their living. You just have to send in a bunch of your child’s clothes and they turn them into beautiful dolls and stuffed animals for you, of course at a price. This way you have reused clothes and also supported a small business. You can even think about getting such toys made and send them in charity.
Cotton clothes also make good rags. Instead of buying wash clothes and kitchen wipes, use cotton clothes. They can also be used to make carpets and pullovers. Remember our Dadis and Nanis making big pullovers and blankets before winter also little ones for new babies coming in the family. Some brands like H&M, offer discount vouchers in excahnge of 8-10 old clothes and you can use the vouchers when you shop with them.
Make sure you use reusable cloth diapers instead of the plastic ones. They are environment friendly and skin-friendly for your child. Plus you save a lot of money on them.
Do not dispose your kitchen waste. Instead you can make good compost out of it for your garden along with your kids.
Do not throw away the waste water from your RO water filter. Collect it and use them to wash fruits and veggies. Wash vessels and mop your floor. You can even use it for washing your car.
Get rid of dark circles with used green tea bags. Instead of using new ones, make sure to chill the used ones and apply them over your eyes. Later you can use the green tea in them in your garden.
Make coasters out of CDs and DVDs. This can turn out to be an exciting craft for your kids while giving you some interestingly designed coasters.
Make sure kids use printed paper to do your crafts. Read the news online instead of getting newspapers and if you get them, use them for crafts and as gift wrapping paper as well.
Use metal bottles and straws for kids. Also make sure to use glass jars as containers in your kitchen.
Recycling is to recreate ways to make new things out of trash instead of throwing it. Make sure you segregate your waste and have a separate bin for waste that can be recycled. Bottles and tin cans are collected and sent to plants wherever they are recycled and turned into new bottles and cans for reuse. Well-known recycled materials are glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum.
There are many more ways to use things before it reaches the trash can. All it needs is a bit of determination and time to do it and when you have you little ones to help you out, this job is just easy peasy! It is all about being smart when using things.
Just keep reminding yourself and your kids the mantra of… REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE…