Spare the textbooks from propagating gender bias

Superstitions, conservative customs, terrible practices and narrow mindset of the people in the society have posed a serious threat to the essence of womanhood and her freedom in India. Gender bias is deep rooted in the social arena. Working women are still stigmatized for their freedom of movement on one hand while housewives are killed for dowry*dowry*
➤ (n) money or property brought by a woman to her husband at marriage
…by BeeDictionary.com
on the other. Why women are still looked upon as a kitchen queen who has to be confined to domestic chores and serving the family members? We proclaim that we are a fast developing economy in terms of education, literacy etc. But where are the positive outcomes of these progressive terms like education and literacy? The recent Chhattisgarh case summed up the prevalence and dominance of male chauvinistic mentality that refrained from sparing the textbooks too.

Image courtesy : www.pon.harvard.edu
Image courtesy : www.pon.harvard.edu
“Working women are one of the causes for unemployment in the country post-independence” *quoted one of the Class 10th Social Science textbook of Chhattisgarh state. This is such an absurd statement that deprives women of their constitutional right of equality. *We are projecting a regressive mindset of a progressive nation here that instills gender discrimination in the minds of student through their textbooks. Most of the textbooks depict women only in roles confining to the domestic chores and caring roles (like daughter, mother, sister) whereas men are depicted as performing multiple professional roles like doctor, sportspersons, lawyers, wrestlers, businessman etc. Egregious content depicted in the textbooks reflects the social conservatism that inclines itself towards men. This has to change. Rigveda recites “Yatra nartyastu Pujyante ramante tatra devataha, yetrai taastu na pujyante sarvaastaafala kriyaah”. The following verse translates to “Divinity rejoices where women are worshipped, where they are not; even sacred acts are fruitless”. When people boast about our enriched culture kindly try understand the meaning of this verse that lays the foundation of our culture and heritage.

The report of the ILO’s International Global Trends 2013 depicts a regressive downward curve of India’s Labour Force participation rates for women. The graph shows a decline from 37 % in 2004-2005 to 29% in 2009-2010. On the global platform India ranks 11th from the bottom out of 131 countries that participated in the research. Isn’t this heart wrecking?

The text book content should be gender inclusive incorporating stories of brave women and women achievers too. Stereotyping women at workplace shows the perverted mindset of people. We are projecting ourselves as regressive and instilling the same perception in our future generation. How can one measure the parameters of unemployment by focusing only on a single gender? Let us all be led by our conscience and the values of egalitarian ethos. Employment and unemployment are two faces of the same coin and have nothing to do gender of a person.

Encouraging woman participation in all walks of life defines the progressive mindset of a nation and its citizens. Let’s make our country a better place for everyone.