How to address gender bias with your kids

Breaking gender stereotypes with kids can be a challenge. Here are a few ways you can subtly make your kids sensitive to gender bias.


It is common to hear:

  • Girls are beautiful, boys are handsome.
  • Boys are naughty.
  • Girls are soft.
  • Boys don’t cry.
  • Boys are aggressive.
  • She is like a boy.
  • He is shy, like a girl.

It is also common to hear:

  • Equal rights for girls.
  • Gender bias.
  • Men should respect women.

Even though many of us do not want to have any gender bias environment, we end up creating the same environment, where many of us grew with that “pink is a girl’s colour” and can’t see “men” wearing pink. A belief we grew up with amongst others and are unconsciously passing to our children. Here are some subtle things we can do at home and at schools to create a learning environment:

Questioning – When we hear things like “Boys are naughty, boys are trouble. They spoil laptops when they play games.”

Question such comments – What does it mean to trouble? How does playing video games spoil laptop? Is it video games or is it the handling of laptops? What is naughty? Does trouble mean physical hurt or teasing? Is it only boys or do girls do this too? Ask questions to stimulate thinking about different perspectives, not to answer what is questioned.

b

Environment  – When the environment is led by gender bias: “Boys cannot do that, girls cannot do this.”

Sometimes question, sometimes create opportunities to experience something different for me. Encourage peer to peer learning which is not gender biased learning. When cooking or painting or wrestling or repairing or dance activities, invite various genders to take part – this is to create experience, not to ensure that they change their beliefs.

c

At home

  • Switch roles to decide what will be cooked today, where to invest, who to take leave when a child is sick, who will coordinate with helpers at home, laundry, repair of car, and so on.

  • Switch roles when a guest comes home – to chat with guest and to arrange all the food?

  • Some of the work at home are naturally comfortable for us – switch roles to experience challenge.

  • Switch roles to attend parent-child day(PCD) or parent child review at school.

  • Arrange all gender sleepover parties.

  • When a child says, “Boys do that and girls that,” ask for specifics: “Is it only one or few or all?”

d

Do not switch roles to teach your children gender equality – just do it for yourself to experience. Rest, allow them to choose from various options available to them. The idea is not to change their beliefs rather we can create an environment which can lead to thinking and experiencing. We can create many options for our children to choose and allow them to choose what they want.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Trainer at amable and Co-Founder and faculty at Aarohi An Architect and Interior Designer by education, I am an organizer, a creator and a person who naturally gets along with kids. I specialize in designing and creating resources for children. I enjoy creating/ designing environment for children. I am a keen learner and learn by observing others. I constantly work on change in me ... more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Trainer at amable and Co-Founder and faculty at Aarohi An Architect and Interior Designer by education, I am an organizer, a creator and a person who naturally gets along with kids. I specialize in designing and creating resources for children. I enjoy creating/ designing environment for children. I am a keen learner and learn by observing others. I constantly work on change in me ... more

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