The room would be painted pink if it’s a girl. Dolls, doll houses, teddy bears, frill dresses for our daughter. And if it’s a boy, we will have the room painted blue, with toy cars and jets. A couple planning for their unborn baby. A child even before she is born, faces such kind of gender stereotypes.
Societal norms which carve her personality, even before her entry in the world. These gender stereotypes, which are widely held as beliefs about characteristics deemed appropriate for males and females, become part of everyone’s life at a very initial stage, i.e., even before women are born. And they remain a part of women’s lives till death. The scenario becomes even more typical when gender stereotyping is accompanied with gender typing.
Gender typing majorly refers to specific associations of objects, activities, roles or traits with biological sex in ways that conform to cultural stereotypes of gender. These traits associated with a particular sex become even more problematic when they get bound to the images of males and females as females are always expected to act in a particular way and males in a particular pre-decided way.
“Woman is more compassionate than man and has a greater propensity to tears. But the male is more disposed to give assistance in danger, and is more courageous than the female” says Adduced Aristotle, the Greek philosopher.
He tried to portray an image of an ideal man and an ideal woman. And there is an endless list of such traits. Our society expects everyone to act in that stereotyped way. These gender stereotypes have majorly contributed to the ruined status of women in our society. A society where women are considered to be inferior, irrational and ardent. The one who is home oriented and needs approval before doing any task.
And men considered being entirely opposite. Aggressive, competitive, dominant and superior. These traits are imbibed in the heart of the child right from the day she enters this world or even before that. And hence they become an inseparable part of their personalities. Over a period of time, these stereotypes led females to consider themselves as subjacent. And eventually they quit trying things out of their comfort zones.
And now after looking at the bound image of a woman, we come to another class of women. A class of which women like Rani Lakshmi Bai and Chand Bibi are a part.
Women in statesmanship, managing territories, governing countries, even making war have proved themselves equal to men- if not superior.
Women have been the building blocks of every society. They play the most important role in a person’s life that is, a Mother. A mother who nourishes her child not only by feeding but also by making them righteous and virtuous. She is all powerful in making noble human beings, the one who will further build a brighter future.
In the contemporary times, there is a dire need of modification. There is a dire need for women to break the walls of convention, to bring out the best in them, to show the world that they cannot think of a developed world without developing their women. Once women are educated, and empowered, they can surely contribute to the nation’s and hence the world’s development.
Swami Vivekananda once said “If the women are raised, then their children will by their noble actions glorify the name of the country, then will culture, power and devotion awaken in the land.” And here educating our women does not only mean qualifying them in mere degree courses, but also revolutionizing their inner self, in other words providing them spiritual learning – the art of knowing and thus living your true identity, is the need of the hour.
1. CHILD DEVELOPMENT, BY LAURA. E. BERK
2. AWAKENING INDIA, BY SWAMI VIVEKANAND