International Women's Day - How To Progress Towards Gender Parity?
Created by Nandini Muralidharan Updated on Mar 08, 2018
When Pia gave birth to her first child, and the first cries of the little baby resonated the halls of the labor ward, tears of joy flowed. Then someone in the family commented – “Oh! It’s not a boy, it’s a girl” and Pia noticed her mother-in-law’s face fall. Pia’s tears turned into a sorrowful stream. And this isn’t a story from the 1970’s – it happens today in several Indian families. The birth of a boy is celebrated more grandly than any wedding or festival. The birth of a girl, on the other hand, is seen as a “liability.” And this slowly seeps into various walks of life, and many women are forced to put up with stereotypes blocking their paths. What is gender parity, really? And how can we progress towards it? Read on to find out.
What Is Gender Parity?
Gender parity, technically, is a numerical perspective from which we can see gender equality - a ratio of women to men. What this means for us in today’s context is really about equality – are we providing equal opportunities to girls and boys, women and men? Do women have the opportunity to contribute to workplaces and other setups equally as men? How rampant is sexual harassment and violence in households and workplaces? These are questions that we need to address if we need to progress towards gender parity.
How To Progress Towards Gender Parity?
Education begins at home. Especially when it comes to educating your child about gender equality and breaking stereotypes. Here are some things you can do, as a parent, to help our country progress towards gender parity:
Reflect, and understand where the problem lies:When you really think about it, the problem often lies well within our own circle – a boy child being treated differently from a girl at home, the daughter of a house help being abused or not having access to education, or even a relative molesting a child, discriminating against a child based on the color of their skin, and the list goes on. The issue is so much closer home than you imagined. Once you understand where the problem is, you know what you must do to address it
Break stereotypes at home:Don’t allow your child to be subject to stereotyping at home or school
- Sometimes, even a well-meaning grandparent will talk about “how fair her darling grandchild is” or “boys don’t cry, they must be strong.” Don’t allow these stereotypes being laid out to your child
- Raising a boy and girl is about the same values at the end of the day – kindness, empathy, emotional intelligence and being self-reliant
Break gender stereotypes in the education system:At school, speak to teachers and the head if you think there are any gender-specific problems that need to be addressed
- For e.g. if you think your daughter isn’t given the same opportunities at competitive sport or any activity simply on basis of gender
- If you notice any gender stereotyping in text books and study material, bring it to the notice of the school head
- Introduce your child to literature that is empowering. Books like ‘Paper Bag Princess’,’10,000 Dresses’, and ‘My Princess Boy’ talk beautifully about breaking stereotypes
Get involved at the next level:Whenever you see a gender inequality issue in the corporate world, with any governing bodies, or anywhere else in society, raise your voice against it. It is our responsibility to work with these bodies to make sure that we progress towards gender parity. It is also important to make sure women in different sections of society are made aware of gender equality. This empowerment can then lead to more girls being educated and making progress
Encourage women to rise above taboos:Whether it is your own daughter, a friend or any woman you know – encourage her to follow her passion and pursue a vocation of her choice, no matter how “offbeat” or “non-traditional” it is considered to be
Moving towards gender parity or equality is about those small steps that translate into a giant leap for our society. And every small step counts. So on this occasion of International Women’s Day promise yourself that you will do what it takes to make this a better world for your child, every day.
Did you find this blog on gender parity, useful? Does your child face gender stereotyping at home or school? What do you do to address it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!