How We Condition Children Into Their Respective Gender Roles From A Very Young Age

Posted on September 5, 2016

By Nashra Ahmed:

Not long ago, my uncle and aunt had come all the way from Lucknow to pay us a visit here in Delhi. We had a small gathering at an uncle’s house and amidst the light gossiping and fun talk, all of a sudden, somebody raised a topic on gender equality in today’s generation.

Whoa! I thought finally I could give my opinions and speak on this. But the thoughts of my aunt and even my own mother, whom I always considered to be very liberal just forced me to stay mum; still. They said that nowadays so many divorce cases are being witnessed only on the grounds that the wife is earning more or is far more successful than her husband. And even if the couple is perfectly fine with it, the society won’t let them accept it.

I was like, really? The society is made up of narrow minded people like us, who ourselves cannot accept the fact that women have the capability to work outside home and successfully support the family in financial terms and the husband too can take care of the house properly. It’s all in our heads and not anywhere outside. It seems like there is  a heavy book of codes based on which the society works! Till when will we keep blaming the society, when it’s our own minds that require the necessary programming?

On seeing our surroundings, we have just accepted the fact that no matter how successful a girl becomes, it’s her duty to pick up that tray of cups kept on the table and take it to the kitchen without instructions. This is not a natural instinct. It’s all about upbringing. A girl in a middle class family is being taught as soon as she is about 10-years-old or so that she should ask the guests whether they need water or tea. And that they should go ahead to make it and serve them. This is to be followed by taking the cups to the kitchen if servants are not around.

On seeing that, young boys tend to start believing that no matter what, in no case is this a boy’s duty. This all starts from a very young age, be it boys or girls. And there is also another side to it. Some say that homemakers are ‘innocent’ and are incapable of doing anything other than the usual household chores. It might completely be her decision to take care of her family and be meaningful to society in her own way.

We shouldn’t stereotype neither women nor men.