19th January 2013 a Talk-show is going on in Dr.Bansi Dhar Sr.Sec.School campus. Its an open conversation session between students and dignitaries belonging to various fields, a Writer, an RAS Officer, an Advocate and a Film Maker. A student of class VI stands up and puts up a question “When will the time come, when girls are going to move about freely and safely in evenings?” The question haunted me whole day. Eleven years old kid has presented a picture of India through her small question that gender inequality still persists in free and democratic India leave apart the gender sensitization.
Gender Sensitization to me, simply means feeling of empathy for opposite sex. Gender and sex too, have a thin line of demarcation between them. When we talk simply about the biological difference between a male and a female, we are talking in terms of sex but when we talk with reference to the social, cultural and economic status of both, we talk in terms of gender.
Women in India still suffer from Gender inequality because of the lack of gender sensitization on part of males. Many of us blame that degradation of values and ethics amongst the youth is the root cause of such problems. These problems are directly or indirectly related to the lack of gender sensitivity be it the case of eve-teasing, domestic violence or the case of brutal rape. The blunt truth is whatever has percolated in young minds has finally been given to them by their socio-cultural environment which mainly includes their family, school and peers. A major part of the responsibility for developing gender sensitization rests on the shoulders of family members and educators. They are the one who can kindle the feeling of gender equality in young girls and boys and develop the empathy for each other. I strongly believe in what David O’Mckay quotes “Women are created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to trampled by him but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him”
It shocks me when a girl child in talk show innocently asks, “Girls are physically weaker than boys, how can they fight against them?” Physical weakness of a female can never lead a male to empower her if he is sensitive enough to realize that within her delicate and physically weak body resides a tender heart which cares for him as a mother, a sister and also as a wife. But this realization comes from how he has learnt to treat a female from his surroundings at home and at school.
At home, he has been observing throughout his life, a mother following the instructions of a dominating father, a sister being scolded for not looking after him properly or not carrying out the household jobs properly in her mother’s absence.
In the present scenario, even females seem to lose their gender sensitivity towards males. Working on many fronts at the same time, getting no care and appreciation in return, frustrated from earning no respect in family and society, their outburst comes in the form of separations, broken families or as live-in relationships searching for complete freedom for oneself.
There is an urgent need to develop a family atmosphere where all members of the family enjoy an equal status, are equally respected and taken care of irrespective of their gender and are treated with empathy. As Gloria Stienem says, “We’ve begun to raise daughter more like sons, but few have the courage to raise our sons more like daughters.”
CBSE serves as an excellent forum for the society to develop Gender Sensitivity amongst pupil by its philosophy of co-educational school where girls and boys grow up together in a friendly manner, feeling each other’s biological and emotional changes while passing through the age of adolescence. They learn to respect each other’s feelings and understand their psychological needs.
Adolescent Education programs of CBSE, inclusion of Life-skills in curriculum, evaluation of students in co-scholastic areas on the basis of attitudes and values are some of the significant measures taken up by CBSE which are going to serve as important factors in evolution of Gender Sensitivity in Indian Social Environment.
Some major changes are to be made at school front too. We as Educators can make a difference by developing an atmosphere in the school, where a child naturally absorbs values and ethics as he/she grows up from a kindergarten kid to a senior secondary youngster. This would not only make the students duty conscious but also protective and caring towards others. Boys should learn through their school environment, that they are not made to empower any of their girl classmate make her realize that she is physically weaker than boy but to be their saviours and protectors in any unsafe situation. Girls should also be trained to be equally caring for their male classmates without losing their self-esteem.
In present scenario school curriculum should focus on empowerment of girl education by creating awareness amongst girls regarding psychological and physical changes of adolescence. They should be educated regarding domestic violence and sexual abuse so that they could face these challenges and share them with their parents and elders. This empowering education in the schools would reduce the creation of masculine norms in boys, to set themselves as different in nature from girls to engage in ‘sexual conquests’. This is the need of hour to give education which could create awareness in students regarding our social and moral issues.
Nicholas D.Kristof says – “In the 19th Century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In 20th century it was battle against totalitarianism. We believe that this century the paramount of moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world”. If his prediction comes true the day is not far when the little girl child of my school will find an appropriate answer to her question that how will girls fight with boys being physically weaker to them and would see my imagination of a gender sensitive India taking its shape gradually but surely.
It’s all about Humanity,
Living together in tranquillity
Where no one is powerless or powerful
Submissive or Aggressive
Then it’s a land of beauty
Where women gets an equal dignity
Gender Sensitization in School
Texmaco D.P.S. International School
The heinous crime that was committed on December 16th,2012 at Delhi has been a rude eye-opener to the gender inequality that still exists in Indian society. On the one hand we have women occupying prominent positions in society and in many professional areas earlier considered as exclusively male domains ,on the other hand even in the capital city cases of violence against women are still rampant. One cannot help but wonder at this strange paradoxical situation!
The title of this article is Gender Sensitization in school. At the very outset one may be tempted to ask some pertinent questions.What is the need for gender sensitization in today’s era? Can anyone deny the importance of boys and girls? The answer is obviously ‘No’.Are boys and girls considered equally important in remote areas or even in urban society? The answer to the last question is ‘Certainly not!’ According to me, society has a hypocritical attitude towards girls. We still hear cases of female foeticide and sex determination tests in rural and urban areas respectively.In affluent and educated classes even today such discrimination exists albeit in a milder form.If the daughter is given the opportunity to pursue higher studies in India, the son is inspired to obtain a degree from abroad. Why this discrimination between boys and girls?
Next to God we are indebted to women, first for the life itself, and then for making it worth living. -Bovee
School is a miniature society. We find children of different socio-economic groups in school. Socialization with the outside world begins at school. Children spend their formative period at school. In fact school is the best place where children can be taught not to differentiate between genders.Such children by the time they become adults,they will have instilled in their minds positive and non-differential attitude or treatment towards the other gender. As mature and balanced adults they will propagate the ideas of gender equality in society and to the future generation.The attitude of mutual respect between genders will then be consolidated; we can then hope for a more civilized society-in the real sense of the term. (Can we call a society ‘civilized’ where barbaric incidents like what happened to ‘Damini’ occurs frequently?)
If you educate a man you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you educate a family. -Ruby Manikan
Schools can take several measures to sensitize gender (equality) such as those given below:
Schools should employ staff who believe in and practise gender equality.
Schools should follow curriculum which is pro-girl child.
Moral Science education should be introduced as a regular subject at all levels and students should be examined in it like other graded subjects.
Female students should be encouraged to participate in activities which are similar to the activities in which the male students participate.
The course material should have the underlying theme of mutual respect between girls and boys and the same should be conveyed through the lessons.
Interactive sessions in the form of group discussions, debates and plays between boy and girl students should be conducted on the theme of gender equality under the supervision of teachers.
The school should fulfil its duty towards society by counselling parents and also other members of society to develop a healthy and positive attitude towards the female child (while not disregarding the male child).
Schools can felicitate female students publicly or during school assemblies for their extraordinary achievement in curricular and co-curricular areas. This would help girls to overcome the feelings of inferiority and help them to be confident.
Biographies and autobiographies of famous women should be included in the curriculum in order to inspire the female students to build their lives and career on similar lines.
Schools should encourage girls to be aware of their rights and duties, instill a sense of confidence in them,inspire them to be financially independent and impart training to them in self-defence.
Schools can definitely play a vital role to bring about a transformation in the mindset of the people towards the girl child and promote gender equality.A country can be called truly developed only if each male citizen treats each female citizen with respect,regard and equity. No other development is as important and crucial as the development of human values in society.It is time we all pondered over it.
Sensitivity of Gender
Jeevan Jyothi Public school
Thalikod, Pattikkad, P.O.
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.
Sensing that the ordinance prescribing harsher punishment for offenders is not enough to prevent crime against women the government on Monday unveiled 27 measures. It also issued instructions to initiate strict action against police personal found to be either displaying bias against women or neglecting their supervisory responsibilities while registering complaints of sexual offences.
One of the tests prescribed by our ancient law givers for judging the crime situation is that the situation is fine if a young, beautiful girl laden with gold ornaments can walk at night on the streets without fear of getting robbed or molested. By this test the crime situation in the country and particularly in Delhi, is very disturbing.
The brutal gang rape of a young girl in a Delhi bus resulting in death has ignited widespread public anger and outrange throughout the country. There has been severe denunciation of the police for its failure to secure safety security of women. The fact cannot be gainsaid that crimes against women at present get a low priority in police work.
There has been an enormously increase of crimes against women not only in Delhi but also all over the country according to the available statistics. However these statistics are misleading and only reveal tip of the iceberg. A very large number of cases are either not reported to the police, or if reported, not registered.
So gender equality is a must in the society, all the actions and policies by the government and public should be focusing on gender equality.
Gender Sensitization in Schools
Dr. (Mrs.) Caroline Mathew
Nirmala Sr. Sec. School, Port Blair,
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Introduction: Gender is a neutral word that stands for both male and female. Gender illustrates the role of women and men in a society that is determined by many factors that may arise out of social, political, economic and cultural situations and this has nothing to do with biological differences. It is the sensitization of gender in a society that determines the roles of men and women, their responsibilities, opportunities, privileges and expectations.
People are born with biological differences as male and female and then they learn from the society to be boys and girls and men and women. The society, which includes the family they live in, teaches them appropriate behaviour and attitude, roles and activities, expectations and identity and determines their gender roles. These gender roles differ from society to society. Many social, religious and cultural factors modify and regulate the roles of men and women in communities. Even though gender norms vary according to cultures and communities, it is found that women are subject to the dominant influence of men at every level of society. The inequality of power in gender relations has negative consequences for women in all areas of their lives which at large affects the social and national development.
Need for Gender Sensitization in Schools: The school, classroom and teachers are all part and parcel of a society. In a society people may suffer from various problems such as poverty, gender discrimination, oppression, inequalities, gender biases and various other issues. Children in a school come from such various types of societies and in Indian societies we cannot chip away the reality of male domination. A father is the master of the house, irrespective of the fact that he may not be a bread winner. A male child is always given much freedom than his sister. When children come to school from such backgrounds, there are possibilities that there may be gender discrimination between peer groups or by teachers. Hence there is a need for gender sensitization in schools so that children become aware of their roles in the society as future men and women.
Gender Issues in Schools: All schools face some or other gender issues from time to time that teachers may be confronted with sometime in their career. When young boys and girls study together in a classroom situation, it is quite normal to have some or other gender issues. This does not mean that only co-ed schools face all gender problems. Schools with only boys or only girls may also face various other problems. The problems may arise due to biological or social differences.
Many times it has been observed that boys try to dominate, tease or even look down upon girls as inferiors. It is also true that some girls are very dominating and would not bend down to boys. When there is a class competition between boys and girls, there is literally a row in the class. If the girls in the class are academically better than the boys, the boys try to pacify their ego by teasing or passing comments on the girls. It is not necessary that all the time it is the boys who create the issues; many times girls may also be instrumental for some gender issues in the classroom.
The present day problems also arise due to nuclear or single child families. Earlier when there were joint families, children learnt to live with each other, sharing and caring for others. But today the scenario has changed and these children from nuclear families do not understand the values of sharing or caring. They are self centred and give least importance to others. Such children in a classroom situation are unable to cooperate with others and sometimes there may be gender issues in the class.
Sometimes teacher’s deportment may also lead to gender issues in a classroom. It has been observed that some female teachers are very supportive for boys or some male teachers are very sympathetic towards girls. Sometimes the case may be the other way such as female teachers showering a lot of sympathy towards girls or male teachers being very encouraging towards boys. The teachers’ such conscious or unconscious behaviour affects children and leads to gender problems in a classroom.
Gender Biases in Teaching and Learning Settings: There are many factors that lead to gender biases in a classroom. It may be due to the subject being taught, the teaching learning materials used or teacher-pupil interaction. Sometimes the lesson being taught in the classroom or the examples being used by the teacher may lead to gender biases. Gender biases may also be through the questions asked by the teacher to the girls or boys, the question asked by the girls or boys to the teacher, the recall questions, open ended questions, time allocated to the boys and girls to answer these questions etc. Gender biases may also arise due to the feedbacks of teachers given to boys and girls in the way of positive or negative reinforcements, judgemental statements or sometimes when they just remain neutral, they may promote gender discrimination. At times, the tasks and responsibilities allotted to girls and boys may create gender biases. Boys are usually given responsibilities and work that needs more physical energy while girls are given such responsibilities that may not need much physical energy. The discipline towards boys and girls or the sentence given to boys and girls may also create gender biases. Even the language used by teachers towards students or the language used by students in a classroom may lead to gender biases. Sometimes the utilization of materials and tools by boys and girls in school such as books, computers, calculators etc., may also lead to gender biases.
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Role of School in Gender Awareness and Gender Equality: A school is the first society for the students and a school plays a pivotal role in creating gender awareness and gender equality among its students. A student learns the basic lessons for life only in the school. Hence teachers have to play a crucial role in bringing this awareness among the students. First of all it is essential for the teachers to believe in gender equality and they have to put it in practice in the class. The teachers need to be conscious of their behaviour in the classroom while dealing with the boys and girls. They should try to develop a sense of equality and respect in the students for the opposite sex. By providing equal opportunities to both girls and boys and by not discriminating them on the basis of their gender, the teachers can develop mutual respect among the girls and boys for each other. Class activities or competitions in classrooms should be carried out in combined groups and not on the basis of sex. Ample opportunity should be provided to both boys and girls to work together and study together in a congenial atmosphere in a classroom so that they are sensitized about gender equality and they understand the importance of both the sexes in social circumstances. Both boys and girls should be taught to appreciate and respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Conclusion: There was a time when the role of men and women were defined differently in our society as SHE was confined to the hearth and house while HE was for the fields. Today the scenario has totally changed as people are proud of their mothers, wives or daughters who walk hand in hand with men in all walks of life. But it is also true that still there is gender discrimination in some pockets of our societies. Sexual harassment can happen at work places, institutions, in the family or on the streets and the Delhi rape case is a bitter example. If schools play their roles well in gender sensitization, then the evils of gender discrimination can be uprooted from the society and there is no doubt that we should be able to create a society where there would be gender equality in true sense.
Towards Understanding Gender: Gender Sensitization in Schools
Mrs. K.V.KAMALA SUNDARAM
KENDRIYA VIDYALAYA, NO.2
The response to the query on gender is inevitable in the innumerable forms and applications that one has to fill from the moment one breathes in into this world and till the time one bids adieu once for all. Do we ever realize the significance of that word whenever we write it? Have we realized the socio-economic, cultural, political and intrinsic value of the term “gender”?
The natural difference is reiterated and underscored through the selection of names, the clothes and the toys for the baby depending on the sex of the baby. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the Gender difference ‘alarm button’ is activated at the fetus stage and female fetus is simply washed down with a blissful nod of the pragmatic and prejudiced people. Thus the “natural difference” has gradually turned into discrimination resulting in inequality and suppression. The prevailing inequality a woman faces from “womb to tomb” is pathetic and goes beyond words.
But a single sad and sadistic event has shaken our conscience and made us wake up to the realities that slap our faces.
The time has come for the (hu)mankind to recode the gender roles, gender attitudes and gender equity and equality. The time has come for the (hu)mankind to reaffirm its faith in values like justice, equality and amicable co-existence in harmony with nature.
Roles and attributes
Gender roles are realities in almost everyone’s life. They determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact within the context of society. The roles conform to the anticipations of the domestic, social, religious and cultural tenets of that period and region. The infants are brought up to conform to their gender-based stereotyped responses and reactions.
The accepted stereotyped roles expect the man to be brave, confident, ready to face the ordeals of life with determination and ease. As the sole breadwinner of the home he commands respect and the natural head of the family. At the same time the woman is expected to be kind, modest, weak, take care of home and children, obedient and patient; man is knowledgeable and skilled and the woman is affectionate and benevolent.
A sketch of a home generally depicts the man reading a newspaper sitting on an armchair and the woman making a garland. The advertisement of an insurance company talks about the plans for daughters’ marriages and sons’ higher studies.
The delineation of gender roles should help the world to co-exist in harmony, play complementary roles and enhance the quality of life. On the contrary what one finds is discrimination against women, oppression and suppression and gender inequality.
Gender equality refers to equal access to social goods, services and resources and equal opportunities in all spheres of life for both men and women. Gender equality should assure equal participation of women and men in decision-making, equal ability to exercise their human rights, equal access to and control of resources and the benefits of development, and equal opportunities in employment and in all other aspects of their livelihoods.
Self-help groups, NGOs, Social Development Groups, various countries and International Organisations including the UN have been striving for women empowerment. Creating a space for women in public life through education and employment, ensuring the safety and dignity of women, glorifying women achievers, giving importance to girls’ education ,legal sanctions against social evils like dowry system and child marriages, celebration of Women’s Day etc. are few of the strategic steps which try to establish the gender equality.
Need of the Hour
The plethora of news reports on violence against women both at home and at public, the growing intolerance and insensitivity to the very existence of this co-being has sent signals of alarm across the globe. The cleansing of this deep malaise requires determined and well-planned strategies. Hence, Gender Sensitization has become the highly prioritized issue of the day.
The different nodes of social transactions & interactions namely, movies, television, music, books, peers, parents and teachers teach and reinforce gender roles throughout the lifespan. Especially, the home and the school should play a responsible role in moulding the young minds towards gender equality and building mutual understanding and dignity between the two genders.
The school holds the key
The students spend their impressionable years at school. A comprehensive school programme which addresses the gender issues will make a positive impact in the young minds. The schools should take care of the concept formation on gender issues, habits and practice which promote and instill confidence in the theories of gender equality.
What can the school do?
Gender sensitization could be realized through
Inclusion of the concepts through Curriculum
Instilling the values through co-curricular activities
Initiating community based activities involving the triangle of parents, teachers and media.
Providing an ambience in the school campus to nurture mutual gender -understanding.
Training the teachers to understand the challenges and planning their activities.
Inclusion of the concepts through Curriculum
Graded concepts based on gender should be introduced through curriculum right from primary education.
The selection of texts and sketches should promote gender equality.
The “in-puts” given in texts need not project stereotyped roles for men and women. For example, look at the two sums given in a primary maths text book: Sum 1: Raman had 200 Rs. in his pocket. He spent 125 Rs. to fill petrol for his bike. How much money will be left with him? Sum 2: Kamala made 27 chappathis. Her children had eaten 13 chappathis. How many are left out? Why not Kamala ride the bike?
Upper Primary classes could have stories where women are protagonists.
Secondary and Senior Secondary sections could have lessons addressing the gender discrimination and class room activities could lead to discussions and debates on gender issues.
Instilling the values through co-curricular activities
Co-curricular activities would make a great impact in the minds of the young minds. Hence, the school and the educationists should explore the possible themes and related activities to promote gender sensitivity and complementing co-existence of men and women.
The themes may include:
mental agony & damage caused by violence against women
unnoticed and unpaid excessive load of work thrust on women
comforts and luxuries proffered to men and denied to women
the yeomen service rendered by women at home
great women achievers and the hardships they faced
need for women empowerment
exploration of opportunities for girls in this modern world
need for equality and pleasant co-existence
The activities may include : slogan writing, Fancy dress competitions, elocution, debate,
essay writing , story writing, poem writing, G Clubs etc.
Initiating community based activities
Children form their opinions looking at the elders. Much depends on adults and the role model that they portray in front of the children. Hence, initiating community based activities involving the triangle of parents, teachers and media.
Parents’ Meetings could be conducted with the themes of:
Needs & Rights of Girls
Issues connected with child abuse and protective measures to be taken
Stereotyping gender roles at home and how it affects attitude
Sensitizing boys at home positively
Media: print and visual media
Media both print and visual media play an important role in forming opinions and spreading messages. Hence, the schools and Education departments should invite and involve the national as well as local media in sensitizing gender based issues. Seminars, workshops and campaigns could be worthy activities.
Training the teachers to understand the challenges and planning their activities:
In their concern for education teachers pay a lot of attention to the performance of students in assessments and guide them on their employability. What goes unnoticed in classroom transactions and teachers’ planning their lessons is the more serious aspect of education – school as the place for social transformation.
Teachers are the most important factor or agent in bringing the social change. First they should change; they should wholeheartedly accept the need to make those changes
This is one of the most urgent actions to be taken up by the HRD and other Institutions of Education like CBSE. It is to be appreciated that our educational system has taken a serious note of the state of affairs and has started taking measures in this direction.
Teachers could pay attention to:
Not passing on notions of the stereotyped gender roles during class room transactions.
The teaching aids and posters in the room ensure gender equity & equality.
Making the boys realise that women empowerment programmes are the need of the hour and victimization should be avoided.
Teacher leaders could participate in panel discussions forums in mass media to emphasis the role to be played by media.
A society of well-groomed children with deep convictions about human rights will never violate them. This can ensure a safe and secure society for our future generations, more particularly for the female gender. We need to usher in a society that is devoid of prejudices, injustices, and maltreatment against a human being, irrespective of his/her gender. We can call ourselves a civilized society only when we reach that stage.
Gender Sensitization in Schools
Delhi Public School, Jalandhar
“Gender equality is about providing men and women with “equal conditions for realising their full human rights and their potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development and to benefit equally from their results.”
This is what the UN Charter states about equal