Celebrating the spirit of womanhood shouldn’t be limited to just one day, do you all agree? But March 8 , is international women’s day, the day that marks a call to action for accelerating women equality.
The theme for this year being #breakthebias, something that we have all wanted to experience. A world that is free of stereotypes and discrimination.
All that we long for is a world that celebrates equality and being inclusive. Eagerly look forward to a world that celebrates the differences and making it valued. When is that day going to dawn upon us?
All day and everyday we are all responsible for our actions anda thinking. The workspace, communities, schools, colleges can with #breakthebias provided we take the right actions.
Seeing the world biased makes it difficult for women to move forward. All the more even if the bias is being done deliberately or unconscious.
Realising that there is bias isn’t enough, it needs the be called out, it needs action to stop it from being done going forward.
This year the UN Women and the world come together for the theme’ Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ and call for climate action for women by women.
We now see a vital link between gender, social equity and climate change which puts forth the point clearly that gender equality not happening will not guarantee a sustainable future that will remain out of reach.
Women depend more on the natural resources but have less access to it. The climate change puts forward it’s great impact on women as it amplifies the gender inequality and puts their lives at risk.
This is because they bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water and fuel.
As women bear the burden, they play a vital role in bringing about a change by leading and driving changes in adapting, mitigating and offering climate solutions.
So if this change is to be brought out, the half of the population of the world has to be included , and with that not happening it is unlikely that there will be a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow.
If patriarchy had a specific beginning in history,
It can also have an end.
– Maria Miles
Patriarchy is a system in a society, where the male gender hold the power and the females are excluded. Given a super power this word is in the top of my list of words to be removed from dictionary.
The term in itself might sound new to many but is an age old practice that’s been there in the families for long. A lot more women and a handful of men who understand that this needs to end have taken necessary steps to get this out. But the efforts are all still only a drop in the ocean. But nevertheless it cannot be ignored and such experiences can motivate more people to come forward to get rid of it permanently.
What made me write this article is a recent movie that me and the hubster sat down to watch during one of the weekends.
“ The Great Indian Kitchen” it is. The movie has been getting attention from all directions as in the sub titles made it easier that people from er languages also geared interest to watch it. Not to forget the fact that the movie got released in a much lesser known OTT platform, people even went to the extent of paying the membership just to watch this movie. Thank goodness the movie stirred up a lot of news and Amazon decided to stream it on their platforms , that it saved me from spending on a new OTT membership. Glad this happened else that would have been one more reason for me to brood.
The film is set in Kerala, where in a newly wed couple start getting to know each other. That’s what happens in arranged marriages. You don’t immediately let your husband take up kitchen duties or pitch in to help, because it’s a society governed by patriarchy.
A typical morning in the house, and as the scenes unfold the husband does not even drop his coffee mug in the sink and that is the duty of the wife. Should I mention as one of the duty? The mother in law makes elaborate preparations chopping vegetables, grinding, tossing vessels, cookers what not. What I thought was supposed to be a lunch preparation turned out to be the scene for breakfast.
Not to mention the chutneys being ground on mortar and pestle and dosas straight to the plate from tawas. To top it all the way in which the father and son eat literally got me sick as I was having my lunch.
The mother in law and daughter in law sit down on the same table which the daughter in law finds difficult to cope. It looks like the mother in law has no voice to speak against such practices or is gotten used to adjusting. The level of treatment the men expect goes to Himalayan heights when the father in law is given the toothbrush with paste in hand to go brush the teeth and slippers being delivered right at his feet when he steps out. Blood boiled that I had to turn it off to calm myself for a while before I resumed watching.
The mother in law leaves abroad to help her pregnant daughter leaving all the responsibilities and duties to take care of the immature children of the house( the father and son). What started off to be a little hectic gets worse in one or two days. The never ending chores in kitchen , house cleaning , washing clothes makes her tense. To add to the woes the kitchen sink starts to leak which is left unattended even after multiple reminders she does so that her husband calls up the plumber.
The husband who is a shabby eater in the house is a perfect gentleman with table manners at the restaurant. When commented he gets pissed and makes the woman apologize. Atrocities!
The poor thing when she decides to take up a job is being advised by the father in law to leave all the thought because that’s what the mother in law did. Makes me want to question, who are these people to give opinions if a girl should work or no? All the education and experience only to wash clothes by hand and pound chutneys in mortar is highly unacceptable. It is really saddening to see that women in yester generation continue to do all this for their husbands and son and also give unrealistic hopes that the daughter in law who comes in will continue to do the same.
Being a millennial parent, it is our duty to raise sons who will equally respect the female gender. Raise sons who will cook, clean and help the women in the family. Raise sons who will do their own chores which includes keeping their rooms, tables clean , help in putting away dishes to sink and give some rest to the ever working women in the family.
Do not glorify if men in the home do this or tell the woman she is lucky to have them do all this. Let’s normalize such behaviour from men.
It was said in olden days that” the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Whoever said that only meant tasty food not sumptuous spreads for every meal of the day that also includes room service to clear away mugs, plates and not to mention the leftover clean up after they ate.
Mentioning the clean up, I feel even diaper duties were far better after I saw the table in that movie.
The generation we now are supports equal parenting and gender equality. Let the men of the family take up kitchen duties during the period when the women menstruate, not citing purity as reasons as I also do not believe in it. This is just to make them capable of taking it up and not just relying upon women for food and everything.
Stop practicing that women should serve food to men and should serve themselves. Change that. Either sit together for a meal or have the men serve you once they finish. I don’t think that is going to reduce their worth or what so ever.
Raise your sons equivalent to your daughters. Do not practice gender based chores at home, it has to be shared equally. Only if this is done , your daughter in law would be happy that she is into a home that believes in modern way of thinking rather than surrendering to patriarchy.
Recently a picture that brought tears was a woman with an oxygen concentrator cooking in the kitchen captioned unconditional love= mother. This is the result of patriarchy. The person has no shame in portraying the suffering of the mother. The picture brought in a lot of negative traction. The women need to stand up against such practices.
It all comes down to making a change . Be the change to see more people joining you.
Men can make their own coffee or tea and can clean up. They can also look up simple recipes to cook, just saying.
If the daughter in law decides to make a change support them and don’t stand as a hindrance as push them into the same pit.
Do not raise sons with expectations that the wife will take care of everything for him just like how she does.
When I was young, the word gender was seen or heard only once a year. I hope I would bring back nostalgic memories to all of you. That was a filed in DATA SHEET in school diary. I really could not understand whatsoever was the reason to have the field, cause can’t we identify them with the names? Do we specifically require a field? This was way back in the 90s when we did not know there was something termed “gender stereotyping”.
But now are the times when people say we have chosen a unisex name. I was like “What the hell is that?”. I thought the term “unisex” was used only for dresses, shoes or salon. May be this is why schools had the field on their forms procrastinating such a situation that both genders can use the names. Don’t get me wrong that I have a wrong opinion about unisex names, I am all okay with it, but just that it was something new to me and discrimination based on gender with regards to naming was so very new.
Where does it all start?
At home is definitely the straight answer most people would give you. And why would that be? It’s because we were brought up that way.We I mean the previous generation But during the course of us growing up and getting exposure to information of all kinds, somewhere down the lane we realized that this is not how it should be.
We as humans have evolved a lot and especially with concepts like gender stereotyping, sustainability, saying no to patriarchy. But we still have a long way to go in making our parents or grandparents understand the same. We have to be patient and understanding to make them absorb the concept on why we do not agree upon gender based discrimination. Making them understand that it has to be corrected from the roots I.e. home is another herculean task.
The Millennial parents, may be I’d say a 50% of us depend on our parents to help raise kids. Most parental conflicts arise here where our methodologies of thinking with respect to bringing up kids differs.
We believe in gentle parenting, no gender bias however that might sound weird to them because them and their forefathers had an entirely different way of parenting.
Our ways of treating kids, bringing them up to understand that a boy playing dolls and girl playing with a car is totally acceptable is kind of hard for them to process. But in a slow pace they would understand that in today’s way of life it is more necessary that both man and wife contribute and take up roles that are not looked down based on gender bias.
In a nuclear set up a man doing laundry and helping with chores around is totally acceptable, Their way of lifestyle of being there for each other taking up or swapping each others role is definitely making them good role models for their kids and a bad portrayal for the elders who still aren’t aware of the gender stereotyping.
Gender stereotyping could have adverse negative effects on children because of early environmental influences in their life. Any kind of genetic bias could be termed as insignificant and can be overcome by positive environmental influences.
Recently I came across books that support gender stereotyping. As a parent I would never opt to do something like that. But in this case my daughter received this as a birthday gift. Drawing book for girls with bright pinks all over. I was dumbstruck looking at the level of how even books try to thrust such notions. Shouldn’t girls colour dinosaurs or vehicles and only stick to princesses and flowers. I was totally not okay with her getting this book having been raised in a gender neutral environment.
Leave alone books, if you look at toy section in most outlets you do have separate sections based on gender. Where house keeping and cooking ranges are placed for girls; boys will conquer the world with scientific experiments and robotics. Why can’t girls play with robots and boys with kitchen sets? It sad to know that parents and kids these days don’t bring in gender discrimination but that feeling creeps when you enter the toy stores. This should definitely change.
How to handle kids and raise them in a gender neutral environment?
Support the choices they make –Let kids take up what might interest them and not discourage them from playing with toys and activities they show interest. On another note, if your kid is following stereotypical choices by nature, do not intervene. In order to prove gender evenness do not offer different stuff to girls who love to cook and boys who love to ride. Offering them cross-gender alternatives is a definite must. Do not influence them in a gender stereotypical manner be it a toy, dress, activity, friends or making choices in career. Asking them to evaluate their strengths, encouraging and respecting their choices is definitely a good way of upbringing.
Battling Social and Peer pressure – Kids often make mistakes in making choices at schools or more based on what their peers choose and even if that is something that doesn’t make them happy, they make the choice for the sake of making them feel accepted. Teach them how to be true to themselves by making choices that make them content rather than pleasing others.
Encouraging positive traits which the kids have irrespective of the gender something like being fearless or nurturing. Boys being of a nurtured nature and girls going out to conquer is totally acceptable.
Being okay with dressing practically – A girl needn’t be in skirts and frocks all throughout her life. Dressing up in shorts and pants when practical or when she needs is acceptable. And for boys hot pinks and reds are definitely must wear colors. If not they’re definitely missing out on something.
Say no to – toys and activities that are openly sexist. Take to social media to influence your vision so that brands realize that changes should be made.
‘This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter’.