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Stop Splitting Them Into Blue and Pink!

Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys,

Household works are for girls, and not for boys,

Dolls are for girls, and cars are for boys,

Girls can pretend play as a home-maker, and boys can become pilots, doctors…

Though many of us might not want to admit, it, but most of us have grown up in a constrained environment like this. Probably, in those days, this thought process was tuned in unconsciously and it seemed normal. But, are those the restrictions that you want to pass on to the next generation? Hopefully not.

Have you ever wondered what has actually changed over the years? It’s probably our outlook towards gender equality. Today we believe that ‘Gender equality is not a women’s issue, it is a human issue. And it affects us all.’

Some of the major areas where gender inequality is profound are:

Education: The disparity in this section is huge. According to statistics, there are approximately 781 million illiterate adults worldwide in which around 75% are women. About 63 million girls still need to go to school. We still see a backward mentality of choosing to educate a male child over a female. Did you know that for every 100 boys who continue their education after high school, only 55 girls do the same in many countries?

Nutrition: In many countries, women are undernourished than men. Often the health and nutrition requirements of a woman are overlooked or neglected from an early age compared to their male counterparts.

Income: The gender gap is so evident when it comes to the corporate world as well. In many countries, women are paid less than men for the same work. They only earn between 60 to 75% of men’s wages. Did you know that on average, women across the globe spend more than twice as many hours as men doing unpaid work?

Security: We all know about the growing number of cases of violence against women across the world. And, we should not turn a blind eye towards them. Did you know that 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime?

These staggering facts and figures indicate that it is high time that we address this issue. We can start early by inculcating the healthy thought of gender equality in our children. And of course, the best place to start is at home.

1. Encourage your sons to help and own up household chores too

2. Don’t stop girls from playing with cars and vice versa- don’t stereotype their toys

3. Walk the Talk- show them ad set an example for them

4. Convey the message through stories and illustrations; show the role models

5. Don’t stop them from exploring their own bodies and answer their queries

6. Avoid using gender-biased terms and phrases in your conversations- boys will be boys, boys don’t cry etc.

7. Point out when they are wrong while dealing with the opposite gender

8. Interact with them when they have a query and show them the true picture

9. Talk to them why and how equal rights should be practiced

10. Respect their feelings and do not discriminate

These are some simple things that all of us can do at home or at school to imbibe the righteous view early in their childhood. Here is a short poem that you can read with your child:

Girls can also do what boys can,

The sky is the limit, whether you are a man or a woman.

Boys can also enjoy the stuff girls do,

Not your gender, but your persona will show who are you.

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