Morality Education

Reshaping mindsets

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Getty Images/iStock   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStock

It is time to leave behind the stereotypes, and move towards a more gender-neutral environment

Despite rapid development, India remains home to a barrage of old-school perceptions and gendered thoughts. Prejudices such as “kitchens are for girls” and “boys don’t cry” are still prevalent, and prevent the holistic growth of our children. For centuries, we have seen children being raised in surroundings that encourage gender discrimination. The stereotyped views of people are not conducive to an inclusive environment for them to grow up in. For a nation to truly modernise, its citizens must also evolve in their thoughts. Children should learn about ‘gender neutrality’ from a young age. By doing so, we can ensure that they grow into well-rounded individuals who accept the diversity that thrives in our country.

The road ahead

When parents are educated and aware of the pressing topics such as gender neutrality, they can create an inclusive learning environment for their children even at home. By sharing household chores and working equally hard, parents can help children understand that there are no defined roles for men or women. This would help children in understanding and accepting views of gender nonconformity.

Parents should not try to mould children according to the age-old stereotyped norms. Ideas such as girls cannot play sports or boys cannot be interested in make-up hinders their growth. Instead of reprimanding children, parents should respect their choices and help them excel in their preferred domains. Keeping personal expectations apart from their passion is a practice that every parent should follow.

Another way can be by educating children with the help of real-life examples. Stories like those of the Phogat sisters and Mary Kom act as tools to shape children’s mindsets. They should be encouraged to watch and read such stories. Doing so will give them a true picture of society and will help them understand the difference between right and wrong.

Schools can also help in this process by holding classes and seminars regarding gender neutrality to create awareness among students. When students read, understand, discuss and write about such topics openly, it will naturally lead to an inclusive mindset and environment. Schools can also hold ‘open mic debates’ on these topics where students, as well as teachers, can take part. This will increase engagement and will help shape their minds towards betterment.

The writer is Founder Director, Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 2:45:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/reshaping-mindsets/article29307589.ece

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