Awareness

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Most children are thoroughly embedded in culturally appropriate gender roles by the age of four or five (Kane 1996).

Since birth, children have been bombarded with gender preconceptions, which restrict their individuality. Instead of being allowed to access and express their complete spectrum of emotions and talents, they are compelled to grow in one direction, rather than becoming unique and healthy people.

 

When gender stereotypes are prevalent in a family, school, or community, it causes guilt and shame in children who may not totally identify with these characteristics. The preconceptions that a youngster is exposed to may have an impact on their developing mind, whether this is a phase in their life or something that could remain longer. This process begins at a very young age. The majority of brain development occurs throughout early infancy (0 to eight years). Whatever a youngster is exposed to during this era shapes how they see and react to the environment.

 

Gender biases enforced in many ways throughout these early years, such as the activities available or the colours they choose to use, may cause youngsters to disconnect from what they truly want to achieve. Even at home, parents must demonstrate to their children that there are no gender-specific tasks. To emphasise the concept, household duties and errands can be shared evenly. Also look for role models that aren't stereotypically male or female — female scientists, diplomats, and philosophers, for example, or male nurses, classical dancers, and instructors.

 

At this age, children are incredibly interested, and parents and educators must be prepared to engage in these discussions. This is a significant challenge. Furthermore, other members of our family may not agree with what we are attempting to instil in our children, which could lead to conflict.

Raising children in a gender-neutral manner does not imply imposing additional norms that take away a child's freedom to individuality. Taking away gender-specific toys or clothing does not imply that a child must 'choose' to be someone other than their assigned gender at birth. It means to give them an opportunity to explore and then choose who they want to be.

It's tough to transform society in a single day. Mindsets must be altered. We must be inclusive. However, a discussion has begun, which is a sign of progress.

“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

 

— Kofi Annan