Gender Equality Begins At Home

Akshay is a 13-year old boy studying in G.P school, in Beed district. His family includes his parents, grandparents and a younger brother. As part of the Gender Sensitisation Program, the our team conducts regular sessions with the children, including one on “gender based division of labour”. In this session, the team had covered that the notion of gender-based division of labour in itself is not appropriate nor acceptable and should be unlearnt, because the responsibility of work, be it inside the home or outside can be shouldered by any person, irrespective of their gender. This is discussed in the session, as sometimes the gender-based division of work is the basis of discrimination between a girl and a boy. The team ensures that the children unlearn this notion and consider all work equal, give respect to the work done by their mothers and sisters and if possible contribute to the work.

When, in the next session, the leaders asked the children to share what they had learnt from the previous session and how they had helped their mothers or sisters, Akshay’s answer was remarkable. Akshay shared that he had observed his mother doing all the domestic chores, even if she was tired after working in the farm. It was only his mother who shouldered all the responsibility of domestic and farm chores, without any help from his family.

So Akshay started to help his mother because he had learnt in school that all work is equal and should be done by everyone, and it is not just a woman’s job to do everything. He decided that he would sweep the house floor, wash utensils, fill and store water, and started to do this daily, after coming back from school. His grandmother, and even neighbours questioned him and even mocked him for this, but Akshay told that there is no such thing as a woman’s work or a man’s work, and he wanted to help his mother. While he was a little embarrassed by this, he continued to do the work, and the joy that he saw on his mother’s face that her workload was reduced, motivated him to continue doing the chores. His younger brother, who had been observing him, also began helping, which has made their mother very proud of them. She earlier felt that she was unfortunate as she did not have a daughter, but she does not feel that now.

Akshay is grateful to our leaders, for what he learnt , that has impacted his mother’s life positively.