The basic features of gender labeling clearly show the lasting effects of a binary world on how children grow up to understand themselves and the world around them.
The beginning of human life lies in sex. The foundation of boy-girl polarity is laid from the birth of the child. Children are not born with a knowledge of gender boundaries but, surprisingly, they show a tendency to develop gender compatibility within the first year of life.
As children begin to explore the self-body, they develop their own understanding of being a boy or a girl. Children begin the first five years of life with appearance-based differences but research has also shown that most children use gender labels before the age of five. Children are seen to associate different behavioral expectations with each gender in the first eight years of life.
These basic features of gender labeling clearly show that the gender-based world we all live in has a lasting impact on how children grow up to understand themselves and the world around them – as well as how to behave in the society in which they live. Children not only constantly observe the adults around them, but also process what class they belong to.
Studies in child psychology highlight that as soon as children realize what gender they fit in, they are naturally attracted to the classes that have pressured them since birth. Once children understand their gender tribe, group affiliation takes precedence and they abide by tribal rules. It then affects their behavior.
Such a trend of human growth and development forces us to think that if the goal is to build a world free of gender inequality, then we need to start very soon. Moreover, there are two important bodies in a larger community that can play a very important role in reducing gender stereotypes – home and preschool.
Many studies, especially in the last decade, point to a very positive and general thread from a parenting perspective. Most parents across the continent want to give their children equal opportunities, regardless of gender. Although it is not a complete story and the devil is in the details. Numerous research papers also indicate that even if parents believe that children should be treated equally, they may act or communicate in ways that unknowingly contradict this belief.
A large-scale observation-based study suggests that parents may unknowingly reinforce gender stereotypes and discriminate between girls and boys. For example, in most studies, parents of young girls were more comfortable with the idea of engaging in masculine-type games, such as truck games, whereas parents of younger boys were less comfortable with their boys participating in feminine-type games. Game, such as playing with dolls.
To add to this embarrassment, research shows that girls’ parents welcome what they perceive as gender inequality among their young daughters, but not with parents with boys. Furthermore, research suggests that fathers have a more rigid view of gender roles and stereotypes than mothers. The social literature is full of evidence that suggests that men generally have more support than women for ‘traditional’ gender stereotypes and roles.
These are very eye-opening trends and the best way to test these adversities is to be aware of them. The more it is discussed, the more it is addressed. While the innate qualities that each sex brings to this world are beyond dispute, it is essential to provide gender equality to young children for a sustainable future.
These unconventional practices should provide parents with opportunities for family work and care at home. Research shows that in families where men are more active and play a more caring role, children have learned that love and tender care can be linked to fathers and male personalities. It is the beginning of the breaking of prejudice around sex and, of course, the beginning of charity. I would urge parents to challenge the gender stereotypes that their children would otherwise be exposed to, play a significant and active role in family affairs and take care of home and role-modeling equality. Similarly, women need to take on responsibilities that are generally considered men’s work at home, such as carrying heavy groceries or paying taxes for the family.
Gender bias is unfortunately not confined to the four walls of the home, instead children are seen to exhibit strict gender roles when playing with other children in social settings such as pre-school.
There is evidence of a hidden curriculum that children create on their own, especially in pre-school settings. It may come from observations of older peers or a desire to reconcile gender with the tribe – whatever the root cause – it exists across the country. There is a ubiquitous observation of practitioners in early childhood settings in different countries – girls dominating the corners of the house where boys are seen to be heavily involved with each other in the computer and carpenter’s corners. Some role-playing studies, in particular, have shown that pre-schools have informal ‘girls only’ and ‘boys only’ zones, which more or less children have created themselves.
Early childhood educators can play a very important role here by making conscious efforts to control the subtle ways of gender adjustment. Educational institutions that celebrate gender equality, focus on creating pre-schools, including non-stereotypical gender discourse in the game, invest in training staff to monitor unconscious bias, are future leaders in defeating gender bias in society.
Countries like Vietnam can be role models to the world for controlling gender-stereotypical human behavior. Gender-based violence remains a major problem in Vietnam, although it is often invisible. Research shows that approximately 70 percent of married women are victims of some form of violence, and this is due to the fact that children have grown up at home and at school so far. To address this widespread problem, early childhood teachers in Vietnam were given gender responsive training. Gender-responsive teaching and learning (GENTLE) project in early years with pre-school teachers, educational leaders and parents in Vietnam not only promotes gender equality in pre-school settings but also hopes to build a generation that carries equal respect for both men and women. Will. .
The journey of breaking prejudice begins at home and preschool but cannot be contained there. Research in countries such as Canada, Australia and Sweden highlights factors such as paternity and paid family leave, and ‘family-friendly’ workplace policies that regulate work time, all supporting greater male participation in child rearing at home and providing female leadership positions. . Therefore, the corporate sector and the government need to take the stick from parents and teachers to kill gender stereotyping.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, another generation of women will have to wait for gender equality. It will take 135.6 years to close the global gender gap. We may not see total gender equality in this lifetime but we need to start acting today to bridge this gap. This equality arises from our thoughts and beliefs which are followed by actions and results. The beliefs of our children are formed through our activities and it is our responsibility to make them believe in a gender-neutral, non-partisan world.