Since we were children we learnt that the father wears a moustache and goes to office, while the mother wears a saree and stays at home. From where did we learn this? From what we saw in home, what we heard in stories and what we saw in TV and movies. So obviously the child grows to think that household work is the exclusive domain of the woman. Having grown up we realize that indeed household is not just a woman’s task and the man should share the load too. But there are many who have not yet come to terms with the fact that even man can do the laundry and other domestic chores. So let us not repeat the mistake with our children. Let us bring them up with an open mind, where work, including household, is not divided on the basis of gender and where even men share the load. How we can do it?
All the family members should do household work together. All young and old, male and female members of the family should do the laundry of the house together. Even if you are having a servant, do it at least once in a week. It will be lot of fun washing the clothes together. Children enjoy playing in water. They will learn that laundry is not just a woman’s task by seeing their father and other male members doing the laundry. This will go a long way in making them better adults who are sensitive towards the other gender.
We all learnt so many things through games. We learnt to add and subtract while playing snakes and ladders. We learnt about money transactions while playing business. Games are the best way of teaching. So how about having a washing game? A game in which both men and women share the household task. How about having a male doll to help the barbie in household chores? This will mould our children into responsible young men and women who share the load.
Children learn a great deal in school. So even schools have an important role when it comes to breaking stereotypes. The lessons in schools, particularly in language subjects, should be chosen or written with an objective to break the stereotype that it is the woman alone who does the household work. Children trust their teachers a lot. So teachers should tell them that they should help their mothers in household work.
Even if you have servants at your home to do household tasks, teach your children to treat them with respect. They will learn to respect menial work.
Inculcating the mentality that no work can be divided on the basis of gender, is a very important task which we will have to shoulder while we raise our children. They should be taught to share the load. I hope the above tips will be of help and we raise our children in such a way that the stereotype that it is only the woman who does the household chores, whithers away soon.