A Task of Behavioural Change: Changing Gender Attitudes

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A Task of Behavioural Change: Changing Gender Attitudes

Is there enough women’s participation in politics? Do most women in India and across the world make a decent livelihood? According to Global Gender Gap Report 2023, which studies gender equality around the world, ranked India 127 among 146 nations in 2023 with a positive rank change of 8 from 2022. The Global Gender Index confirms that when it comes to creating equal opportunities for women in spaces like health & politics, we have a long distance to cover. 

Even though there is a tremendous shift in how women (themselves) or people around them perceive violence, the shift has not occurred across the board. Forms of violence still exist against women. They are constant victims of domestic violence— both physical and mental.

The Path Towards Gender Equality in India

The gender roles in India are quite patriarchal. Some women who choose to enter into intercaste marriages struggle to find acceptance from their own parents.

Sujata Khandekar, the director of CORO, feels the values women imbibe from childhood are inequality, subservience, humiliation, injustice, and insults. They are part of our upbringing, hence becoming a part of our personality and behaviour. They also lead to stereotypical expectations that society has over how a woman should behave and so on. 

What Can Be Done to Shift Gender Attitudes? 

Shifting attitudes towards women is an important step in achieving gender equality. While there has been progress in recent years, there is still a long way to go to combat discrimination and inequality. Here are some ways to shift attitudes toward women:

Increasing knowledge and awareness 

is essential for transforming attitudes toward women. Among other things, this entails educating people about gender equality and the detrimental effects of gender stereotypes. The frequency of violence and discrimination against women, as well as the negative impacts of gender inequality on society as a whole, must also be brought to light.

Equitable representation 

is important in all spheres of society, including politics, business, the media, and the arts. This entails elevating women into positions of leadership, showcasing a variety of gender identities in media and advertising, and promoting involvement in activities that are often associated with men. Women challenge established gender roles and stereotypes when they are present in positions of influence and authority.

It’s critical to encourage these concepts across society. For women from various backgrounds to express their experiences and worries, the creation of safe venues is a must. In addition, it entails actively seeking out diverse opinions and perspectives and elevating the voices of women from various racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation backgrounds.

Gender Equality in India Helps Everyone

It might be challenging to identify and also get rid of unconscious biases towards women, which many individuals harbour. Conscientious unlearning entails recognising these biases and making an effort to overcome them. This entails evaluating our own attitudes and perspectives on women and actively looking for chances to question and transform them.

Violence against women must be addressed since it is a pervasive issue that needs to be changed to change how people view women. This entails offering assistance and resources to women who have been the victims of abuse, in addition to enlightening males about the negative effects of violence against women and motivating them to speak out against it.

The World Looks Better When Equal

Changes in legislation and advocacy are crucial for affecting public perceptions of women. This entails speaking out against discrimination and damaging gender stereotypes, promoting laws and practices that advance gender equality, and actively combating gender prejudices in daily interactions.

The process of changing attitudes toward women’s discrimination in India is ongoing and necessitates a multifaceted strategy. It calls for campaigning, legislative change, deliberate unlearning, and confronting violence against women, education, representation, diversity, and inclusion. We can make society more just and equitable for women by uniting to advance gender equality.

Smile Foundation and Gender Equality in India

Smile Foundation launched its women empowerment programme, Swabhiman in 2005 to reach out to marginalised and socially-excluded women. The aim since then has been to capacitate them through innovative community practices, support them in education and livelihood, development of life skills, empower them to seek healthcare and bring sustainable changes in the community, and also engage men and boys in creating a gender-equal society.

Smile Foundation has aimed to address the gender inequity concern through a simple but effective approach involving the community. Potential women entrepreneurs are also identified and supported with dedicated programmes to build an ecosystem for them to progress and excel. To create more opportunities for women, make a small contribution here!

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