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Attitude towards Sharing the Load and Gender Roles

India has come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century when a woman walking alone in the street at night and working was not considered safe or suitable. Modernization has especially helped women in creating their own space and positions in public aspects of life; trying to generate equality. Gender roles may also be reflected by measuring the representation of men and women in the range of roles. The concept of gender roles and equality is defined in various ways. Gender attitude is usually seen as the distribution of roles among men and women in the household, family and the public sphere. An attitude is considered egalitarian when it favours fair or equal distribution of rights and opportunity.  


Due to improved communication, transportation and globalization, many distinctions in attitude and equality between urban and rural societies have become insignificant. Still, compared with urban/modernized areas, people living in rural are generally considered to have a more conservative attitude; and are more likely to follow traditional values, and express less modern behaviour. Type of residence and ways of making a living still significantly reigns and delineates women’s lives. A society with a liberal attitude towards the roles of the female is expected to react more favourably to the non-traditional role of a woman than with a society with a conservative and moderate view. Today, though still, people cling to the values of the 1900s. 


Men and women lead today highly complex lives with multiple roles; they are parents, friends, siblings, businesspeople and more. This differs from the period of the 1900s where gender roles were more specific, where men were bread earners and women were homemakers. There are different types of attitudes towards gender roles: First, which considers women different and inferior from men. Second in which women are socialized in the different tasks and are equal to men. And in third, they are neither considered different nor specialized.


Female participation in paid work is considered good gender but it refers to the social reality which exists only in some societies. Despite the tradition of high female employment, gender equality legislation, institutions for working mothers- there is a relatively similar attitude towards gender roles among the population (mainly rural areas). 


-Almost half of the working women say that they spend more time on parenting than on their career.


-It’s also been noticed that men’s sports are more visible than women’s that are doing a toll on women’s self-esteem.


 


Attitude towards gender roles starts to form during the adolescent period. A survey was conducted with 1752 students of Grade 6 in Hyderabad. Multiple regression models have been developed based on factors associated with boys' and girls' attitudes to gender. And it showed that:



  • In boys, patriarchal gender beliefs were higher than girls and associated with hunger, depression and being a victim to/perpetrator of violence.

  • In girls, hunger, experiencing corporal punishment at home.


 


Women’s risk of inequality and violence is particularly high when women and people in here vicinity shares beliefs about the acceptability of biased treatment and violence. So people need to develop and implement strategies at the youth or adolescent level to prevent unfairness against women/girls and males too. Because youth is the stage when engagement and enactment among the boys are associated with patriarchal gender attitudes; and for girls, it becomes something they grow habitual to. Intervention might be necessary for the development of a child. Education should be considered important because it empowers women and allows crossing the bridge between the private world to public world for employment and liberation. 


Gender equality starts at home and it will be achieved when men will start sharing domestic duties at home and becoming equal partners. By that, they will set an example to the younger generation and influence them. By teaching the sons that household chores are not only women’s job it’s their responsibility too. 


#ShareTheLoad is a campaign and advertisement by Ariel based solely on gender equality and addressing the unequal expectation placed on men and women from childhood. It addresses the stereotype that takes place in reality and questions whether the laundry is mums or women’s job and asks their sons to share the duties. There are many ads relating to this one in which a father notices his daughter juggle her life from work to home where she does all the work and apologizes for not setting a good example for his children and decides to change that by small step by helping his wife. In another ad, we see that a mother realizes how unequally she raised her two children and correcting by teaching her son to do laundry. 


Despite all these efforts at the global level and actions at all the levels there remains a problem of implementation but as you can see change and achievement have been made and happened but the pace is too slow. Despite the awareness, the change is slow because men at all levels had not been included. Representation of women should be increased in public spheres and it’s essential to consider women to be equal in household and society. 


Gender equality cannot be achieved by focusing solely on women and changing only women. Many men who are already committed to gender equality may be great role models to other men and boys and others can give attention to young boys who are less rooted in their attitude and personalities. There is a need to generate importance towards gender equality for men and boys as well as women and girls. Gender sensitization should be integrated into young girls and boys that support the rights of a being; guides them to the approach to understanding the cultural and social structure of gender that shapes the experience of men and women in society. Men should understand the important role they can play in promoting and systematically identify gender equality.


 


 


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