This Women’s Day, Let’s Challenge Each Other To #BreakThePerception Of Gender Roles
Since childhood, the things “expected” of us are chalked out to be followed for the rest of our lives. If born a girl, we are dressed in pink because we are expected to be delicate and pretty. If born a boy, we are dressed in blue – a colour more associated with strength. The gender appropriation is so hard-wired in us that many of us live by these stereotypes for the rest of our lives.
When children as young as five are treated differently based on their genders, they tend to believe that men and women are not made of the same things. Women are more creative – they enjoy painting, dancing, sewing and singing, while men are more interested in sweating it out, working hard and toiling to make a living for their families.
Assigning such gender roles not only affects women but is disadvantageous for men too. Any man showing a tinge of sensitivity is ridiculed for being ‘feminine’ and asked to ‘act like a man’.
Common perception makes us believe that women are made for the kitchen while men work in factories.
To understand the depth of this stereotype, Ashok Leyland carried out an innovative experiment. It brought five girls to one of its factories and asked them questions on what they think about it.
Most girls thought machines, robots, trucks and buses are built in the factory and the ones who make it are tall, strong, powerful and big men.
It didn’t even strike them that women might also be working in the factory in the same capacities as the men they mentioned. Ashok Leyland showed the little girls the work women do in their factory – constructing machines, assembling parts, repairing tools.
When perceptions are broken since childhood, kids grow up to be more open-minded and don’t confine to gender norms. This is even more important for little girls to learn so that they don’t accept the rules laid out for them, instead work toward breaking out of the box.
Only when we #BreakThePerception will we be able to live in a world equal for men and women and accepting to varied ideas and job roles.
This Women’s Day, let us leave behind what we are taught, instead teach everyone that there is nothing women cannot do.