Thursday, February 4, 2016

Boys vs girls

On my visits to multiple rural schools I am greeted by beautiful school campuses with gardens, lively colours and huge farms attached to the school premises. One cannot help but relish this picturesque view outside the highly populated cities. But as soon as you bring people inside those school buildings, my heart gets punctured rudely with the inequality that reeks in every nook and corner of these schools.

A stark gender divide appears in the schools. Starting from the teachers to the students discriminative gender roles are a norm. Majority of the lady teachers show submissive nature. Most of it has to do with the typical gender stereotyping that occurs in Indian households. Teachers favour boys which is evident in the way they position themselves while teaching (they stand closer to the boys' column, they joke around with boys more (that is whenever they do)). Teachers restrict girl students to gender typical jobs such as fetching snacks/drinks to guests, decorating the school premises etc., When it comes to  students, on a qualitative analysis boys answer more number of questions than do the girls, boys undertake more volunteering tasks while girls are typically huddled up not taking initiatives on most occasions (like typical good girls, they come forward only when asked to).

I do not know the ways to end these seemingly minor yet potentially harmful gender discrimination acts as an outsider. In my capacity as a teacher too I  found it hard (if not impossible) to make everyone act in gender neutral ways since gender stereotyping runs deep in our psyche as a society. I know 'this is how the world works' but let me tell you that it is definitely wrong. There are societies that are worse than ours but that doesn't stop us from progressing on right paths.