A while ago, there was a conversation on Twitter about how girls do not know how to ride bikes or play video games. A large number of men summarized that the reason was that girls had no interest in such things while a large number of women tried to explain that they were never encouraged to have interests in such things. The women were not lying, it was true. Think back to your younger years, how many times you as a girl were called out from hanging with the boys when they played football, gun games, etc. We never really know the impact of having boys and girls fit into social constructs until society is formed and we see from our reality today how harmful gender roles can be.
How often did you receive a doll or a cooking set as gifts so you can play house while the boys got footballs, builders’ caps, a stethoscope, and more?
It is this type of conditioning that makes it seem unnatural for girls to do what is considered a boys thing. We are in the 21st century, a time for enlightenment. It is quite sad that stereotypical gender roles are being perpetrated in places as important as schools.
Recently, there was an image of a club activity list for students in a primary school that went viral on Twitter. Boys from age 7 were in clubs where they participated in gaming, reading, drama, art/ orchestra while girls of that age were in clubs where they baked, cooked, read, and made hair. At 7, it is important to note that this is the formative years of these children and whatever they are made to believe at this stage stays with them.
Why are the female students not given a chance to play games and ride bicycles? Why are they not even given an opportunity with the arts? Once again boys are conditioned with the thought that activities such as cooking, tailoring, and head making are for girls alone. What if the boys are interested in that?
It is never too early to introduce feminism into spaces or be deliberate about dismantling gender roles. Also, I think age 7 is a pretty good place to start. No activity should be particular to one gender—mix them all up and let young children find the passion that suites their individuality rather than their gender. I hope after being called out, the school revisits the plan accordingly and I hope that we are just as deliberate in our homes, with our siblings, children, etc. It will go a long way in promoting gender equality and creating an even future.