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Getting Over The Pink and Blue Divide: Revising Gender Roles

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By Ichha Bhan
5 Mar'22  4 min read
Getting Over The Pink and Blue Divide: Revising Gender Roles
Synopsis

How does gender determine the choices and perceptions people have towards students? Do these perceptions restrict career options or passions that students want to follow? How can we relook at what is considered feminine or masculine and go about reversing gender roles? What can you as parents do to educate your child to move past the gender divide? This article talks about the gender roles and the ‘gender role reversal’ meaning, how a child’s progress is under the radar because of their gender and also sheds light on what you as parents can do to overcome these gender stereotypes. Through gender role reversal examples, the article will illustrate how to go about providing a supportive environment to educate your child about gender equality as well as to pursue activities, learning, or extracurriculars despite the challenges that come with being of a specific gender.

Read more
Getting Over The Pink and Blue Divide: Revising Gender Roles
Synopsis

How does gender determine the choices and perceptions people have towards students? Do these perceptions restrict career options or passions that students want to follow? How can we relook at what is considered feminine or masculine and go about reversing gender roles? What can you as parents do to educate your child to move past the gender divide? This article talks about the gender roles and the ‘gender role reversal’ meaning, how a child’s progress is under the radar because of their gender and also sheds light on what you as parents can do to overcome these gender stereotypes. Through gender role reversal examples, the article will illustrate how to go about providing a supportive environment to educate your child about gender equality as well as to pursue activities, learning, or extracurriculars despite the challenges that come with being of a specific gender.

Read more

Being a patriarchal country from the very beginning, India has always had a strict gender divide between what roles were reserved for men and what roles were reserved for women. Men are typically known to be the breadwinners and women are known to be the homemakers. These gender stereotypes are prevalent in very deep-seated ways - starting from the kind of clothes a child is made to wear, the kind of advertisements shown on TV, to the depiction of male and female characters in stories and in school textbooks.

Despite India having a long list of laws to create gender equality, it is not executed as well as it should be.

What Is The Pink And Blue Divide?

Pink and blue are just colours but somehow, through the course of history, they became more than just that. Pink and blue are seen to be cultural signifiers of gender that emphasize gender stereotypes and norms.

This gender divide has caused a ripple effect that goes beyond just colours - it dives into ideas of what girls and boys should do, how they should act and behave. This then conditions children to believe that certain things are meant for girls and others are meant for boys.

Impact Of Gender Divide On Students

Schools are a teaching ground for children, where they learn subjects to give them a foundation of knowledge that will help them create a future for themselves once they leave. It is also a platform for them to learn a lot more than just information about gender reversal meaning.

They are exposed to people from different backgrounds, including their peers, teachers, and staff that help make the school clean and functional. This is a space where they learn to interact with people of different ages, ideas, perspectives, cultures, and beliefs. It teaches them social and emotional skills.

A school environment must be one where they are given the chance to explore different activities untainted by ‘gender roles’. Unfortunately, that is not the case in most schools, starting from the way they stand in the assembly line, to how they are told to sit, the perceptions that come with girls interacting with boys, and vice versa.

A school is also a place for students to explore their various talents, whether it is for sports, dance, drama, science, or anything that catches their interest.

India has taken a step further to reduce the discrepancy between the genders as NCERT conducted a gender audit for textbooks provided in schools. The results of the audit reflected that gender stereotypes were very well present, in the manner of women being caretakers or maids, etc., while males were given roles of greater standing or authority. This shows that children are influenced from a very tender age to believe that they are restricted because of their gender and who they are as individuals.

What Can Parents Do For Their Children?

Education about gender roles and stereotypes begins at home, so it is important for parents to actively participate in helping students get over this gender divide. Here are a few things that you can do:

Take An Interest In Your Child’s Passion

  • Whether your child is male or female, they have their own ideas and view of what they enjoy or don't. If your teenage daughter plays sports, sign them up for some clubs or encourage her to join the team if there is one at school.

  • If your son enjoys dancing or acting, nurture that talent through clubs in school or even sending them to places like the Indian Habitat Center where there are opportunities for them to explore that side.

Notice What's Being Taught At School

  • Spend time with your children and understand the kind of concepts that are being taught, especially when it comes to how teachers are encouraging the students to work through the information.

  • If you come across something that doesn’t seem to sit right or is restricting in some way, encourage your children to question it, have a conversation with them so they have a better understanding of how the world works and what they can do to make better decisions.

Have Real Conversations With Your Children

  • The current generation is far ahead of previous generations due to the over-exposure of information on the internet. They are aware of what is happening, probably more than you think.

  • Take the time out to sit with them and talk them through various challenges they may face. Give them a space at home to talk openly to you about how girls and boys should be treating each other, reversing gender roles, and things that can help in maintaining healthy relationships.

In this day and age, it is vital for girls and boys to learn to become independent thinkers and doers. With women slowly becoming an integral part of the workforce, teach them about what it means to create a foundation for themselves.

Women and men now are slowly embracing their masculine and feminine aspects, and it is something to be very proud of. Taking care of your skin, body, hair, education, finances are equally important for all genders. Encourage this exploration from a young age so they are able to make informed and educated decisions and don’t have to shy away from the idea of reversing gender roles whenever necessary. It will help in building the confidence, skills, and resources your children require to make it in these unprecedented times. After all, they are the future of this country, and these skills need to be honed from the beginning.

Ichha Bhan is a counselling psychologist, and personal growth coach. She holds more than 5 years of hands-on experience in working with children and adolescents, helping them and their parents navigate shared emotions, and the challenges of growing up.

  • Human activities
  • Branches of science
  • Behavioural sciences
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Psychology
  • Gender
  • Stereotype
  • Gender role

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