We Are Equal. Really?
“Want to gift a present? It’s simple. If it’s a girl buy a cute doll and if it’s a boy buy some electronic games or cricket equipment.”
“You are a boy. You cannot wear pink shirt!”
“You are a girl, if you don’t learn household work how can you take care of your husband and children!”
“You are a boy; Chose your career wisely. You are going to have to feed your wife and children!”
Aren’t we familiar with such dialogues in our day to day life? Is it correct?
Children see this discriminatory behavior in their homes and communities every day – in textbooks, in the media and among the adults who love and care for them. This thought process that can be seen in almost all the families and has been around for generations. The behavior is deeply ingrained in the minds of people and the society at large and this impacts all sexes alike.
As an example, we often hear about the girl child being treated unequally, however, aren’t we doing injustice to our sons too? On the one hand we are denying our children of their personal choices while on the other we are pressurizing them with responsibilities which they would love to share, such as pursuing a career of choice and earning for the family or shouldering responsibility of the house hold chores together without branding them as a “gender specific job”. Imbibing the mind-set of equality on the minds of children from an early age would ensure they grow into more responsible citizens of tomorrow.
We, at Mumbai Smiles think that this gender stereotyping needs to change. Not only do we focus on imparting formal education to our students but we also assist parents to inculcate a mind-set of gender equality. If parents treat their children equally only then they would dare to dream of pursuing any profession of their choice and would understand how to respect the choices of other gender. This would also lead to sharing responsibilities equally and thus lessen the burden of their family on one person. This is possible only if we begin at our homes.
We have always tried our best to make sure that the gender equality is being respected in our projects and within the team. We closely and constantly monitor that bullying or any other expression of discrimination doesn’t happen at all.
Our preschool teachers are taking initiative and preparing some videos for our students to spread the message of equality. Digital media has empowered and enabled us to reach out to all our students and parents and convey this message beautifully. In this video our teacher Surekha Dhadwe has role played as a mother of two children and explained the very important aspect of gender equality to all our viewers.
We are happy to witness the progress of our teachers. By educating our communities they all are growing together.