Gender Equality Begins at Home : 6 Simple Steps You Can Help
This powerful quote by the first female President of Harvard shows us how relevant and important gender equality is in today’s society. It’s critical to teach our children about gender equality and gender identity from a young age, to show them how to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Without diversity, society would become rigid and restrictive.
Gender equality undoubtedly begins at home, and families are at the front lines of change. The examples set by parents, care-givers and extended family shape the way kids think about gender and equality.
From Kinderkind, your best-loved online store for modern kids’ apparel, here are 6 simple steps for you to teach your toddler about gender equality and integrate this topic into your child’s daily life.
Check out these children beautifully explaining the concept of gender equality:
1. TALK THE TALK
Gender identity is something that kids develop as they grow and learn. A great way for you to help teach your toddler about gender equality is by talking about the differences between boys and girls, starting at an early age. This opens up the possibility for more open discussions about their own identities as they grow older.
As they grow older, talk about various topics like women’s rights, equality between the sexes and what still needs to be done for us to reach a gender-equal world. Encourage them to ask questions and debate on points they don’t agree with. They need to understand that all of us have equal rights, so we can lead the world towards a better future for everyone.
Here are some useful suggestions on how to start gender-related talks with your kid:
2. WE DON’T STEREOTYPE
Did you know that children start absorbing stereotypes by age 3? And many stereotypes are often strongly related to gender roles and societal expectations. That’s why it’s so important that we as parents make a conscious effort not to condone gender-based stereotypes at home.
We all have unconscious gender biases. These are perceptions that we've internalized, based on society’s expectations about how men and women should dress, behave, present themselves, and the kind of work they should do. It’s up to parents to become aware of these biases and challenge the stereotypes that kids regularly encounter.
Start conversations about gender roles early on, and challenge the typical characteristics assigned to men and women at home, in school, in our daily routines, and in workplaces. It’s also important to reassure your child that it’s okay to be different, and encourage a culture of acceptance.
This interesting video shows how parents can influence gender stereotypes at home:
3. DIVERSE ROLE MODELS ARE COOL
Role models have a significant impact on people as they grow up. In today's society, it is important for kids to follow diverse role models.
Role models are no longer confined to one’s gender or race. Today, there are lots of inspiring people out there who have overcome the odds and succeeded in their chosen field.
Encourage your little one to embrace diversity and follow diverse role models by introducing them to the idea at an early age. Expose them to role models from various genders, ethnicities and colour. Research has shown that having diverse role models not only affects how children think about themselves, but also other aspects like empathy and their self-concept. This will help them develop into better and more confident people.
Here’s an awesome list of diverse role models that your kiddo can look up to:
4. SHARE THE CHORES, SHARE THE LOVE
Did you know that the world over, women carry out three times more unpaid household and care work than men? Women often opt for less demanding careers, not because they are less capable, but because they don’t have a strong support system at home.
It may sound insignificant, but the fact is that gender equality begins with sharing domestic and care work. As our children grow up, they need to learn that everyone should equally contribute to all the work at home, irrespective of their gender. Equality in domestic and care work helps families and communities flourish.
Make sure everyone in your home is doing their part equally to share domestic chores. Even a toddler can help in simple chores like setting the table or picking up their toys. As part of a family, it’s on all of us to share the care.
This insightful article discusses how even kids’ chores can often perpetuate certain gender stereotypes:
5. MY TOYS, MY CHOICE
Toys are such an inherent part of our kids’ lives, aren’t they? But often toys can intentionally or unintentionally reinforce gender divides.
The games and toys that are marketed to both genders are often perceived as being "boy" or "girl" appropriate. It is frequently assumed that boys prefer to play with Lego, action figures, fighting toys and cars, while girls opt to play with dolls and do arts and craft. However, the truth is that from a young age, children have overlapping interests and it’s often parents or society who impose ideas about what they should be playing.
As a parent, it’s vital to send your toddler the message that boys and girls can play whatever games they want and grow up to enter whatever professions they want.
So if your little girl wants to play football, applaud her; and, if your son wants to join cookery or dance classes, be his biggest cheerleader!
Check out this informative piece on how your kid can benefit from gender-neutral toys:
6. SHOW THEM HOW IT’S DONE
All said and done, we know that the best way to raise a child is by example, as your child takes after you, right? So, display the kind of gender-sensitive behaviour you expect from your child.
With the changing times, our kids are growing up with new ideas about family life and relationships. We want our little ones to grow up in a society where they are treated equally, regardless of gender, race or class.
As partners, speak to each other with respect, share the household chores, and let your kids see that you work together as a team. Let them see that it is not a woman’s duty to make dinner for everyone in the family or a man’s responsibility to fix the broken step. Be more mindful about your actions and set an example for your children by promoting gender equality. When your kids notice this, it will reflect in their behaviour too.
Here are the top ways you can be a role model for your little one:
As parents, it’s good to be open-minded when raising your toddler, and provide an environment where they can come out with their own opinions without being afraid of making mistakes. At Kinderkind, your favorite trendy children’s clothing brand, we believe in teaching kids about being inclusive, about allowing everyone an equal opportunity to succeed, and respecting every individual's life choices, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. By educating our children about gender equality and what still needs to be done for us to reach an equal world, we are setting them up to lead the way for a better future for all.
Sending love from Be Kind blogs. Happy reading.