The campaign will work on changing the perceived ‘masculine’ attitudes and behaviour around the following five key themes:
- Language (Gender-based abuses, traditional gender-biased proverbs and idioms, phrases like “Don’t be such a girl” and “man up”)
Language is usually not seen as an important contributor for gender inequality, but research over the last decade has suggested that how we speak also influences how we think and grammatical gender can shape how people interpret the world around them along gender lines.
In 2011, a study was published which investigated 111 countries empirically by examining differences in gender equality between countries with gendered, natural gender and genderless language systems. The findings suggested that countries where gendered languages are spoken, evidence less gender equality compared to countries with other grammatical gender systems. Furthermore, countries where natural gender languages are spoken demonstrate greater gender equality, which may be due to the ease of creating gender symmetric revisions to instances of sexist language.
In India, we majorly have gendered languages and we feel, if we truly want to challenge the root causes of gender inequality, we have to start at the elementary level of the language we use in our daily lives
- Honor (A family’s honor becomes unfairly dependent on the woman, while a man is allowed to believe he can even make detrimental choices without consequences)
Honor, especially with regards to family, community and society, for some reasons has mostly been a women centric issue.
There are distinct forms of active and passive ‘honor’ which can be mapped onto the expectations of traditional masculine and feminine behavior, whereby men are supposed to be assertive and respond with violence to slights upon their own, or their families ‘honor’ and women are expected to maintain their own fragile honor through complete conformity to social norms of feminine behavior.
Acts of honor-based violence include female genital mutilation, acid attacks, forced marriage, as well as many other forms of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Honor killing is the most extreme form of Honor Based Violence where the supposed offender against family honor is killed to restore the ‘honor’ which has supposedly been lost through her behavior. India has some of the maximum registered cases of honor based violence every year.
- Freedom of choice (To make choices that don’t restrict individuals within gender stereotypes and roles)
In a multi county survey women were asked 'how much freedom of choice and control you feel you have over the way your life turns out.’ The result which captured the ratio of men’s to women’s responses: Women in developing countries reported having relatively less control over their lives than those in developed countries. There is particularly little freedom of choice for women in India, the Middle East, and North Africa. These are also the places with very low female labor force participation. The correlation between a country’s male-female gap in freedom of control and its male-female gap in labor force participation is highly evident.
In India there is a strong co-relation between very low female employment and freedom of choice for women, which appear to be rooted in the societies concern for women’s “purity.”
- Division of labour at home (Attacking the notion that household work is a woman’s work and men)
Do men and women do equal amounts of housework and child care today? Although, the domestic division of labour has become more equal over time, especially since the 1950s, yet the gendered division of domestic labour is still very unequal.
Women still do the lion’s share of the household work and the stats don’t change significantly even in cases of a working women! Gender inequalities in the domestic and occupational divisions of labour have deep correlation with the existing patriarchal belief systems. As per UN Women 2015 report, it is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion!
An economic estimate of the In India the scenario is the same and we feel it’s time to question the existing practice and define a new normal!
- Parenting (To filter how parents engage with their children when it comes to gender issues and roles)
The fact that most of the values, beliefs and perceptions with regards to gender role, power equations and aspirations are set in the domestic space and homes is well established. Hence, parenting becomes one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle which has an enormous role to play if we want to have a large scale impact.
Children’s development happens through observation and imitation. Gender is one of the first social categories children become aware of. By the time they are 3 years old, they have formed their gender identity. So much so that it limits boys and girls in socially constructed ideas about what one is or isn’t permitted/supposed to do within their gender. Let your children take the lead and experience their gender with as much fluidity as they wish.