In view of the increasing role of women in public life and the efforts of the government in the direction of universalisation of education, the question of gender sensitization has assumed greater importance. Most Schools have become co-educational these days where boys and girls interact with students and teachers of the opposite sex. The physical proximity of the girls and boys has made interaction free and unrestrained. Reports of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexually objectionable behaviour are quite common in Indian educational institutions. Numerous reasons can be forwarded behind such behaviour. We have to see the larger picture if we want to address this issue. Gender discrimination cannot be treated in isolation as it has its roots in deeper problems, which plague our society.
The Indian society is still in the process of modernisation where sections of the population continue to have traditional mindsets. The traditional Indian thinking considers males as superior to females and there are plenty of examples to show that young girls are discriminated against at home. Statistical evidence shows that boys in India have three times greater possibility of being taken to the hospital in case of a serious ailment. In many poor Indian houses males are fed first and the left – overs are eaten by the females. The dropout rate in Schools is much higher in case of girls. The scenario is even more grim in rural India where parents prefer to send the boy child to school and keep the girl child at home to assist in household work or to work in any other income-generating activity. This discrimination at home weakens the personality of women in general and they look upon themselves as inferior to men right from childhood. At the same time, boys are made to believe that they are inherently superior to females. Most boys and girls attend schools loaded with this mental baggage. The indoctrination received at home compounded by the already existing social differentiation between males and females give rise to attitudes in the male folk, which are far from egalitarian.
Though our constitution clearly proclaims equality of men and women in all spheres of public and private life yet it is not so in practice. Among the vast sections of the population groveling in illiteracy, concepts like gender equality are unheard of. Even in the so-called modern and affluent Indian houses gender discrimination may be discernible in some form or the other. Unless the economic standard of the country improves, girls may continue to be considered as burden of the family and gender sensitization may remain elusive. However, greater stress on education of females especially in rural India will definitely reduce the gender gap as education equips a person with courage to fight against discrimination.
The general moral debasement of our society is also responsible for disrespect for women. If the morality of the child improves then he will display greater respect for women and cases of sexual abuse or assault in educational institutions will reduce. In the modern times, earning money has become the prime motive of man and the child is imbued with the same zeal. Teachers, guardians and educational institutions are geared at academic advancement as it is considered as a sure way to success in life. Success in life is equated with earning money. When the primary goal of education becomes moneymaking then moral values definitely take a back seat in schools and colleges. Cases of sexual misconduct in schools are a direct result of the failure of guardians and teachers in inculcating moral values in children. Though, students are taught moral values as part of the curriculum yet it is done in a perfunctory manner. Inculcation of moral values in children has to be done in a very systematic manner by narration of stories with moral overtones. Such narration should be done to students at a very young age by a conscientious teacher. This needs to be followed up even in the middle and senior levels in schools. Moral uprightness should be lauded so that the seeds of moral values planted in children at a young age take firm roots. Teachers and guardians have to take a joint responsibility in this regard. They must understand that they can act as catalysts in bringing about a change in children’s mindsets and in society in general. The behaviour of teachers cannot be considered to be above board and they are often found to be behaving immorally. Sadly, enough schools are also not very careful in the recruitment of teachers. Most private schools operate as business houses and the sole concern is to earn money. Thus, the noble motive of imparting man-making education is lost.
Schools have to be more vigilant and careful in providing good-quality education and should provide proper care to the child. Only then can we expect children to grow strong academically, physically and morally. Schools should provide sufficient scope for engaging the child’s mind in various pursuits beyond the pale of academics so that their abundant energies may be diverted in creative activities. This would naturally curb the negative tendencies in children who are likely to develop a more positive attitude towards others. Students should be involved in-group activities involving both the sexes so that the curiosity and inhibitions regarding the opposite sex end. Cases of sexual misconduct within the school should be identified and dealt with strictly. The guilty, have to be counseled or punished depending on the severity of the case. The students including both boys and girls should be enlightened about the essential equality of all human beings irrespective of caste, creed, race or gender. Teachers should treat the students in a humane manner so that the students also behave likewise while dealing with their peers. Right attitudes have to be developed in the students so that they abstain from any kind of objectionable behaviour . Students can also act in groups helping each other to thwart the attempt of any abuser.
Teachers in schools should be ready to act as aids in helping students deal with such situations. Guidance by NGOs engaged in this field can also help to train children in tackling such situations. The schools should act in close collaboration with the guardians as the students receive the first impressions of life at home itself and ideas formed at the formative stages of life continue to linger in the later stages also.
Gender Sensitization in Schools
By Moushumi Ghoshal
Motilal Nehru School of Sports
The issue of gender sensitization has taken gargantuan proportions due to a national crisis which shook the nation to its core at the beginning of the year. The incident which was referred to as the ‘Delhi Gang rape’ left the issue of women’s safety split wide open, putting a question-mark over the attitude of the average Indian male in terms of his behavior with the opposite sex. Educational institutions must accept their share of the responsibility since the issue at hand is largely ignored, and often swept under the carpet, by private and govt. schools alike. Govt. policy on this issue too is vague and reactionary, leaving schools with no clear directives as to what is expected of them.
The first major concern of the society should be the formulation of clear cut laws which ensure women of a gender-sensitive environment in their workplace. The primary step taken, it then must ensure that schools are made the chosen vehicle to spread the message so that the society does not only have to take punitive measures, rather the desired aim is inculcated in the youth. Gender sensitization must be made part of the teacher-training programme so that all the aspects are well-ingrained in the teachers to pass on to the students.
More than at the senior or college level, gender related issues must be addressed at the primary level, so that young children growing up together may look upon each other as friends and partners rather than persons with whom no interaction was acceptable. Making children sit in small mixed groups and encouraging pair work/group work/project and activities in which there is a judicious mix of both boys and girls would make the children look on each other as just another student, rather than feeling shy of each other, which may lead to embarrassment, in articulation, a sense inadequacy in dealing with them and a feeling that they are “different”.
Another important step would be to make community service a vital part of the school curriculum. This would become the basis for moving towards a kinder and more compassionate society which reacts to gender issues with sensitivity and understanding. Community service helps to hone the finer qualities of a human being while also highlighting the joys of helping and working together.
One important aspect which must not be ignored is the treatment meted out to those who flout the accepted norms of gender-sensitive behavior. Keeping in view the fact that we are dealing with children at the formative age, it is vital that we do not alienate the offender; rather we try to bring him into the mainstream by counseling and an assurance of continued support in his guest to improve upon his behavior. Censure, public ridicule and a harsh punishment such as expulsion may bring about an entirely opposite result, further alienating the child. It must be assumed that certain children will take a long time to overcome gender issues, given the chauvinistic environment in most Indian homes. The key would be to press on resolutely rather than crack the whip.
Gender Sensitization in Schools
Senior Secondary Teachers
Muljibhai Mehta International School
Gokul Township, Virar (W)
Gender sensitization refers to mental process of an individual when he or she comes in contact with individual of opposite gender. The thought process of an individual is always different for each gender.”Gender sensitization” the word evoke a mixed reaction in the mind depending where you are from ‘cities’ or ‘villages’ .The city bred youth think that girls are being given more than their due and from the village they are so insensitive to the need of a girl child that it is natural for them to think that a girl is subservient to a boy.
The significance of gender sensitizing, gender equality to the development is widely recognized globally accounting the various efforts by governments, civil society and development agencies in the holistic development. For the past few days all our mainline news channels and news papers have been reporting the growing atrocities against women across India .The ever existing issues of low sex ratio, female infanticide, denial of education to girls, dowry and the likes haunt us everyday .Crime against women are increasing at an alarming rate. It is surprising that ‘educated’ young men commit a lot of these crimes.
Nevertheless wherever you are from the need of being sensitive to the need of a girl is imperative and important. That does not mean that you should be insensitive to the needs of a boy but a girl requires a little more care as after the age of thirteen .She undergoes a lot of change physically as well as emotionally .When the kids are young that is before the age of ten, both boys and girls play with each other with no thought about gender differentiation .But as they start reaching adolescence parents , teachers ,friends and society keeps reminding them about gender differences. This creates the first seed of gender discrimination. A girl start with her menstrual cycle and a boy has certain changes in his body that he ‘starts’ becoming aware a girl as a ‘girl’. Boys and girls both show the traits of rowdiness, jealousy, camaraderie and infatuation in certain cases.
To Educate A Child Holistically (TEACH) is why a teacher is needed. A teacher is the best person to explain to the child various topics to the adolescent like the need of gender sensitization so as to be aware of the needs of each other.
How can a Teacher / school be helpful?
Many governments have achieved significant levels of success in reducing the gender gap in enrollment by increasing the enrolment of girls. Various programmes were included for the improvement of girls access, retention and performance like:-
Building schools close to the homes to provide safety and security for girls.
Flexible time table for subsistent activities.
Establishing community libraries.
Provision for separate toilets for boys and girls including proper bathroom facilities, sanitary ware and privacy related to management of menstruation for girls.
Proper rules against sexual harassment and sexual violence.
These issues can be dealt in the school level by using a very effective tool for gender sensitization like:
School to provide a value based approach in handling one’s sensuality.
For gender sensitization the ideal age group should be 12 to 15 years as in this age the children learn to differentiate a good touch and a bad touch.
Senior teachers, doctors, psychiatrist and child psychologist are ideal teachers because they know how to convey the point.
The delivery of a good gender sensitizing programmes can be more effective if interactive learning methodologies like debates, discussions, games, role play included in the session.
Over the years on the need of gender responsive teaching and learning materials, textbooks have many examples of gender stereotypes. As a matter of fact the teachers who were using these textbooks were not aware that there was anything wrong in the textbook. For curriculum setting teacher’s contribution is essential.
Well researched interesting audio video content on gender sensitization can reach out to the children, either through computer lab or through audio visual rooms.
Proper language should be used by the teachers in the class rooms. A healthy teacher student interaction should be carried.
As we are all social animals it is the responsibility of each and every individual to realize the duties with respect to the problems pertaining to the gender sensitization .Even after 6 decades of independence one frequently read about bride burning and dowry death. Therefore it is the prime responsibility of our education system to teach the child to discuss his thoughts, action and deeds. Education should help him or her to take right decisions in the right direction.
Teacher training must be necessary including training skills for children otherwise attainment of quality education and achievement of MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENTS GOALS and for gender equality for education as a whole will for a long time remain an illusion.
Mrs Rukhsar Tanveer .Shaikh
Pre Primary section.
D.A.V Public school, Airoli
Till December 16, I had assumed that I am living in a state where sweet river flows, birds chirp, a cool air blows swiftly, nature around me is so beautiful and I am like an independent human being, where I have my self-esteem, dignity, respect and an identity as a woman. In a fraction of second, everything has got shattered, shaken and uprooted as if a tsunami, Katrina or torrential rain swept away. I was in a state of shock; I was not able to express my anger, frustration, sadness, pain. Now my soul is lost and only my body remains. Now I am scared, yes, it’s true because I am woman and above all I am blessed with a beautiful daughter Damini.
I get shivers as this name is given to that brave girl who has fought for her life till her last breath. I can feel a pain. Suddenly I became an educator because I have started educating every child and of course I can’t forget my own daughter. I have observed that adolescents are still not aware what has happened and if we, as a part of society will not take a drastic step to educate them, our soul will be lost for ever.
Every one of us is playing a vital role in our field. But we need to sow a seed by educating not only girl or boy but every citizen of our country. As a parent if I am guiding only my child, is that enough? Will crime stop forever? We should not forget the root. Each and every member of the society must be aware, educated, enlightened and imbibed with the roles, duties and responsibilities.
First of all we have to understand that in our journey we have to go to different stages i.e. infant, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. As a teacher I have an opportunity to interact with kids. I am nurturing the age group of 3.5 to 5.5 years. That doesn’t mean that I can’t inculcate values at this age.
I have taken initiative by making children aware of what good touch is and what bad touch is. And they must not allow any stranger or an unknown person in a society, bus, school, and road or on any occasion or festivals to misbehave. As a teacher we can narrow the bridge by making strong bond of friendships. Children either speak out to their parents or a teacher who is very close to their heart. With kids, also we need to orient parents to keep an eagle eye on their kids when they are playing in the society, mall, or school. Guide them through stories, discussions questioning and dramatization or puppets.
To inculcate values in adolescence is the next step by giving our students responsibility, awareness, alertness, by taking precautions and self defense.
Positive Attitude We all go through some bad phases. Children at this age, when are frustrated at home,. they tend to get isolated and get involved in bad company, bad habits and make hell of their life. If we sow a seed of positive thinking through seminars, workshops, or half an hour talk we can overcome negative feeling and help them lead a positive life. We can make a difference and we can make them a positive human being. A positive human being with a positive mind will never do wrong and will never encourage wrong deeds, because he is aware of the consequences and understands what is right or wrong.
Awareness adolescence goes through many stages. But life has its own turmoil. A child goes through many crises. Some parents are separated, some have financial problem, some have drunken father who beats his/her mother daily. Some do not have even the basic necessities of life. We teachers as moderators must encourage them to read news paper. And not just the headlines. It is our duty to help children read, understand and give their opinion. Through a healthy discussion between a teacher and a student, it is the role of a teacher to identify if there is any negativity and talk to the child. We can also take guidance from school counselor. Make them aware by involving them through street play, through workshop, of their responsibility. While talking there shouldn’t be any gender bias but equal respect and responsibilities. And help them understand to deal with crises.
Alertness we must help them understand that they have to be alert all the time. And for that they should not use mobiles, or listen to music by putting earplugs while they are out of school or while walking. They have to be alert while interacting with strangers at home or in society. And if they feel wrong gestures, they must immediately report to teacher or parents. Children must be updated and made aware of all the numbers i.e. of ambulance, police station, of parents, relatives and neighbours.
Self defense Help them learn the art of self defense. And remember every martial art has a rule to follow and we should use it when in trouble and not to trouble others.
Same conditions are applied for adulthood and old age. A worse situation can be faced by any one of us. But if we are aware, alert, with positive feeling and self defense we can make this world a better place to live in
I believe in ”practice what you preach”. All these are within my reach. I am doing my bit. Have you done yours?
Gender Sebsitisation in Schools
Dept. Of Education,
C.C.S. University Campus,
Around the world gender is the primary division between people. Gender consists of whatever traits a group considers proper for its males and females. Gender stratification means males and females unequal access to power, prestige, property on the basis of sex. No matter what we attain in life we are labelled as male or female. These labels carry images and expectations about how we should act. From birth right till death gender has a hand in shaping human feelings , thoughts and actions. Children quickly learn that society defines males and females as different kinds of people by the age of three. Gender affects how we think of ourselves , also it teaches us to act in a normative way. Gender roles are attitudes and activities that a society links to each sex. You learn your gender as you are socialized into the behavior and attitudes thought appropriate for your sex. The sociological significance of gender is that it is a device by which society controls its members.
Society expects males to be ambitious and competitive ,play sports and assume positions of leaderships. Females are expected to be deferential, emotional, supportive helpers and quick to cry. We expect them to be passive and emotional while males are expected to be independent and active. This perception of parents, communities and even policy makers is the root cause of social discrimination of girls. In most of societies girls and women are considered to be inferior to men. Girls are treated as a liability. Education of girls is a waste of scarce resources. This is because our social norms are built around the belief that girls only have a domestic role in the household economy. She does not provide for the family but only is a consumer. Her use is only as a potential child bearer and rearer . Parents believe that –
-Girls education has no relevance for her future life
-If girls are educated they get ideas of equality.
-When they invest in a girl’s education there are no returns.
Discrimination against women began centuries ago. This discrimination begins at home when a girl is born and in some cases even before she is born resulting in female foeticide. There are dietary insufficiencies both qualitative as well as quantitative. Girls are more often undernourished than boys. Everywhere there is male patriarchy where male dominates females. Throughout the modern world the portrayal of women and the image associated with them is that of a docile, beautiful creation in need of protection and care. This impression has been passed on from generation to generation through social norms. Women are expected to be submissive, obedient and humble individuals who have to play multiple roles of daughter, sister, wife , mother , daughter-in-law etc with perfection. An ideal women is one who does not raise voice or go against the wishes of the male members of the family. From early childhood she is trained to lead a life dependent on others and if she does not do so she is considered bold, immoral and therefore should be punished. This is evident from the rise in violence against women who have dared to challenge male domination.
ROLE OF SOCITEY-
Gender consiousness starts very early in life with the kind of roles one is expected to play. Girls help their mothers in household work and boys help by doing odd jobs outside. Girls are taught that their whole life revolves around their home. This image is further strengthened when an ideal gift for girl’s is dolls and cars and guns for boys. This carries forward the role society expects each one of them to play. Girls should remain at home caring and looking after every need of the family members whereas boys should be more aggressive and outgoing. Major and healthy portion of the food is kept for the male members of the family. In case of scarce resources it is the girl who has to make all the sacrifices. This is the price she has to pay for the security she is assured of by the male members which is the basic spirit behind various festivals like Raksha bandhan.
This gender consiousness unfortunately is further strengthened in schools when we quickly label a boy who is crying as sissy or acting like a girl. Even in subject selection this consiousness is so overpowering that girls usually opt for fine arts, home science or biology. Maths is generally for boys. Girls going in for medical profession usually specialize in Gynecology, Paediatrics or physiotherapy; rarely do we find female cardiologist or oncologists. This biasness is found in every field – in Engineering it is computers and electronics for girls , Civil and mechanical is for boys. In M.B.A. girls usually go in for Marketing and HRD whereas Sales is for boys. Tradition fosters gender aspirations in their students by encouraging females to choose occupations in consonant with future husbands and children. Our society still defines high paying profession and the drive & competitiveness needed to succeed in them as masculine.
Again when we look at the world of sports here also feminine and less aggressive games are for girls like badminton ,tennis, swimming or athletics .Sports like Cricket, football are more popular with boys although female teams for such sports exist but they are not so popular. Girls usually are left for cheerleading to boost and motivate their male counterparts. Although there are exceptions like Alka Tomar, Mary Kom who have made a mark for themselves in such allegedly manly sports like wrestling and boxing. This discrimination in the field of sports is a world wide phenomena. This creates a prejudiced image on the impressionable young minds and which they carry with themselves for the rest of their lives. Whenever they encounter an image which clashes with their established views there is conflict which we are witnessing in the varied forms of violence and atrocities on women these days.
Thus, gender sensitization is needed in every sphere of our lives be it schools, society, peer groups etc. This stereotyped image needs a complete overhaul especially the one depicted in our movies. But it should begin at the very grass root levels when the young mind begins to take shape i.e. at school. Because school is the second home of the child .It should begin from the very basic. They should be taught that girls or boys are not different .They are just two separate individuals who might be physically different but this physical difference should not guide their behaviour. Children should be taught to respect each others feelings and accept each others capabilities.
Image associated with what types of games one can play should also be broken. Girls should be encouraged to take up subjects for which they have aptitudes and which they want to pursue even if it goes against conventions. Stereotypes must be broken and children should be encouraged to do what their heart desire and not be deterred by the dictates of the society. Choice of a career should be their own decision and it should not be affected by what the society expects them to do.
Gender sensitivity should be made a part of the curriculum. The students should be made aware about the contribution of the females in the development of the society and how the two sexes can co-exist. Merely worshipping her as a goddess is not sufficient; she should be treated with respect and as a thinking individual. The society has to realize the immense potential they are wasting by denying equal status and opportunities to girls.
Gender Sensitization in Schools
Rohini, Sector 24 Delhi-110085
Wherever women are honored, there the gods are pleased – The Code of Manu (Manuscripts)
We live in an advanced society. Having enslaved even the most dangerous animals, we proudly live in the territories that once belonged to these ‘wild beasts.’ We have invented machines to make our lives easier and work faster. The world has shrunk and we plan to set up colonies on the moon! We have become more advanced as compared to our ‘barbaric ancestors.’ Man surely has come a long way from his hunter gathering stage.
However the position of women in society has changed little. Every day, newspapers are replete with the news of rape, molestation, domestic-violence or any other such crime against women. Girl students have the highest dropout rate in the rural areas, there is discrimination related to the salary earned by women especially in the rural areas. Women are subjected to discrimination at every stage in their life.
Statistics reveal that there are 65.5% literate women in India as compared to 82.1% males. 26.1% of women form the workforce in rural India as compared to 54.7% of men. The average salary of women in rural areas in 2009-10 was Rs.155.87 and that of the men was Rs.249.15. A total of 24,270 cases of crime against women were reported in India in 2011. The recent rape case of Nirbhaya has yet again revealed the sorry state of women in our modern society.
Is it the same India where women are worshipped as goddesses? In our culture the figure of Ardhnarishwara or half man and half woman is revered and worshipped. The Ardhnarishwara, in a way is a symbol of equality of the sexes, of the fact that both sexes are equally significant and none is less than the other. This is our culture that treats both sexes as equals. However, we, who take pride in our rich heritage and in the culture of revering womanhood, are slipping into the morass of depravity. All doesn’t seem well in man’s paradise.
This wasn’t the case in the hunter gathering society. There was no male supremacy over women as there was almost a division of labour between the sexes. Men did most of the hunting and women did most of the gathering. (Chris Harman: A People’s History of the World). Industrialization brought with it new ways of production which created new relations between the sexes. The man strengthened his position as the bread earner and the role of women was reduced to child bearing and rearing of the family. Gradually women were thrust into a position of dependence and subordination to men. This led to the great divide and women were no longer treated as equals.
In order to bring women at par with their male counterparts, the need of the hour is to instill ender Sensitization among the youth. Gender Sensitization can be defined as the modification of behavior and instilling empathy into the views that we hold about our own and the other sex. It helps people in examining their personal attitudes and beliefs and questioning the realities they thought they know. Since home and school influence a child’s development the most, it becomes imperative that such training begins from here to nip the problem in the bud.
There are several ways in which we can instill gender sensitivity among our students. Morning assemblies can be organized to promote gender equality. Skits, debates, street plays and panel discussions can also be conducted to sensitize the students to this issue of national importance. Not only this, the subject of gender equality could be integrated with the subjects. Students can be asked to carry out surveys to assess the prevalence of gender inequality, for eg. students can be asked to find out the names of some famous Indian women physicists/ mathematicians. Apart from this, value education classes can also act as a handy tool to motivate students to respect everyone irrespective of sex. A meeting with parents can be organized by the Principal in order
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