Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gender Equality, Name-Calling and Some Food for Thought.

We held a gender equality workshop for children between ages eleven and thirteen (Classes 6 to 8) at the Akshar Arbol International School, Chennai. We focused on understanding gender, deconstructing stereotypes, asking questions and engaging in open discussions to help understand each other better. The kids were exceptionally well read, very open minded and empathetic, and enthusiastic.

We had some incredible discussions and activity-driven exchanges around gender, stereotypes and perceptions of gender. 

One of the most profound moments in the workshop came up with a little boy making a statement that all girls were "Humanoid Devils." The girls were shocked, immediately, and were stunned at his remark. Many of them responded by saying that they found it hurtful and rude, and wondered what made him say that. He then elaborated by saying that there was one girl who had hurt him, and that she was a humanoid devil. We asked him if any of the girls in the room had hurt him, and he said no. We asked if any of the women teachers had hurt him. He said no. He spent a quiet moment, reflected, and then said, "No. All girls are not humanoid devils. Just that that one girl hurt me and I was angry about it."

Little steps to change, one mind at a time :)