Making education gender neutral
We have been constantly working to overcome the social evils that are prevalent in our society, but it is a bitter truth to gulp down that these efforts are not enough.
Gender inequality is one such issue that has rooted itself so strong that it has started affecting our day to day lives.
Many times while solving bigger societal issues we tend to overlook the smaller initiatives that we could have taken to solve the problem in general.
It is the need of the hour to understand the fact that echoing big words like ‘equality’ and ‘feminism’ is not going to make a change.
Before taking big steps to fight gender disparity we need to ensure that we do not promote it even in our slightest of actions.
Do you really think that gender equality is limited to equal salary in offices or sharing work in domestic households?
No, a plethora of actions performed by us each day add up to gender inequality, from making bifurcations like blue colour for boys and pink for girls to gifting cars to boys and dolls to girls on birthdays, every small action of ours can instate gender disparity in the minds of our children.
Predefined roles on the basis of gender is an injustice to the capabilities possessed by a child. Though gender equality is taught to the children in schools but is this fact agreeable that the environment of schools is entirely gender neutral?
Most of the schools would answer this question with a yes, however, the reality contradicts this yes! The textbooks are the reservoirs of knowledge but at the same time, these textbooks are making the children gender bias.
According to a report by UNESCO, it is found that most of the textbooks used in schools are not gender neutral. The graphics used in the textbooks have 80% male representation with economically powerful jobs. Also, the texts and case studies given in the books portray the stereotypes for men and women.
This is a picture taken from an English grammar book by Global Education Monitoring Report. The image clearly shows the social responsibilities that we have assigned on the basis of gender moreover, the male representation is twice the female representation.
There are numerous other examples in our textbooks that can be considered to prove the fact that even our education system is not gender neutral.
This is another exercise from the same book. What do you see in this exercise? It clearly states the stereotypes that we have made in the society on the basis of gender roles. Females are portrayed as homemakers and males looking up to other roles which include earning, driving, carpentry etc. which are given to them due to their masculinity.
Women empowerment and gender equality go hand in hand but the upliftment that we are expecting to seek from the society is not possible until and unless we start to preach what we practice.
In the words of Michelle Bachelet, “Gender equality will only be reached if we are able to empower women.”
1) Stamping out stereotypical teaching tools