Teaching and promoting gender equality from a young age will empower children to realise that the world should be equal and offer the same opportunities for all. It will also encourage and even motivate younger generations to be accepting of the differences between people, and in time, reduce the level of discrimination, abuse, and violence.
Children are not born with the knowledge of what it means to be a ‘girl’ or a ‘boy’, it is taught to them. Adults and older children can facilitate gender stereotyping. It is only through openly discussing gender equality with one another, that we come to realise that we can change the way we act and actively promote gender equality to our little ones. The earlier we do this, the more effect it will have on our children.
We can empower young girls to be strong, assertive, self-confident and self-reliant, and teach boys to respect that empowerment and to embrace and value it. Boys can learn that their lives can be so much richer if they partner with girls on an even footing with each gender contributing their talents unreservedly. Girls can have technical and physical strengths, and boys can have nurturing attitudes and artistic talents. No one should have to hide who they are. Promoting Gender Equality will have a direct influence on improving mental health, social and emotional intelligence, and aid in the prevention of the many different forms of abuse. By educating children of all ages, genders, ethnicity, race, and religion, to challenge classic stereotypes and actively question the world around them, we can forge more of an inclusive world for everyone.
Carry on reading to find out some of the ways that you can help empower your child.
Talk about it
Take advantage of this time in lockdown while homeschooling your children and embrace discussing gender equality and topics such as woman’s rights. Discussing these topics with your children will help to achieve awareness and get them asking questions about our societal behaviours. By talking to our children, we are setting them up to lead the way in the future for all.
Share the work
Cleaning, cooking, collecting water, caring for young and old people, are roles that are usually taken up by women. It has been found that on average, women carry out over two times more unpaid care and household work than men. Due to this, women all over the world miss out on opportunities such as going to school or work or progressing their careers.
If you equally divide your housework between everyone then you set an example for your children from an early age!
Embrace diverse role models
Everyone has a role model or looks up to someone in their life. Try and encourage your children to embrace more diverse role models. A role model could be anyone, who is any shape or size, has a different skin tone, a different gender, religion, or culture. Remind your children that they can be anything they want to be regardless of their gender.
Empower your children to speak out
In this day and age, it is incredibly important to encourage young people to speak out when they see an injustice. All around the world people are starting to speak up about gender equality and people are starting to change the way they look at it. Encourage your children to defend what they think is right and the future will begin to look a lot brighter.
Fight stereotypes, including your own
Gender is not about what sex you are, it is a social construct in which people define what it means to be a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’. From a young age, these narrow and limiting roles of gender are imposed on to our children and often they are not challenged, and children end up conforming to them. This is why it is so important to bring up the conversation surrounding gender roles early on in your child’s life.
It is true that we all have an unconscious bias, but it is our duty to be aware of this and challenge these restrictive views on society. Be there for your children and let them know that your family is a safe environment where they can discuss anything and feel safe to be themselves.