What social biases or stereotypes should we challenge to bridge the gender gap?

March 8, 2021

 

Categories : Blogs by our residents

 

It is a MAN’s world alright! That is what you are reminded at every stage in life. We distribute sweets at the birth of a baby boy and shed tears when a girl is born especially if she happens to be the second or third girl in a row. I was fortunate to have parents who accepted me as the third girl baby and even considered me lucky because my brother came after three years. And two more followed. Unlike most middle class homes where boys  went to more privileged higher fee charging schools than the girls did, we all went to the same good schools. Like my brothers my youngest sister chose science and math a as major subjects and I chose social science of my own preference. We breached the usual practice of engineering for boys and soft careers for girls.

 

Then comes the major hurdle in life. Boys see the  likely bride to be in formal settings and accept or reject the proposal. Thank God times are changing and girls are beginning to have a say even in arranged marriages at least in educated families. Yet the man remains the head of the family the final decision maker. Even in the senior citizens residential complex I live in, there is no end to the tales of male domination and female subjugation in marriage partnership. Note that at every socio economic level it is the woman who holds the family together and keeps things going in crises situations regardless of whether she is a home maker only or is also employed. I have often seen men fall apart in a crisis situation while women often gather an inner strength and carry on. However gender socialisation runs so deep that it is the man who is considered the head of the family. I have often  been asked “where is Saab?”  when going to register property in my name or call a carpenter to fix a furniture.

 

Then come the twilight years. Often it is  the stronger sex  that departs  first leaving the lady partner behind. It is amazing to see how this so called weaker sex the dependent  women come on their own and manage to carry on at times expressing their assertive selves hidden so far. At the same time when it is the man who is left behind I find the widower quite lost finding it hard to cope without a partner.A widow is expected to cope on her own whereas a man is permitted a second and even a third wife if the earlier ones depart. A man cannot cope alone. He needs a companion at every age!

 

Can we break the circle of gender socialisation? Of course we can and in some families we do. Yet it is often that women themselves are women’s worst enemies because they play an active role in perpetuating the myth of male superiority and that of women being the weaker sex instead of standing up and being counted.

 

T.S.Saraswathi

Serene Urbana by Columbia Pacific Communities

Block 4 706.

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