Sunday July 22, 2018

Are Indian Textbooks inculcating Gender Stereotypes?

12th grade sociology textbook of Maharashtra State Board advocated that if a girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’ then her family is liable to dowry

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New Delhi, Feb 10, 2017: Recently, a story on a social issue based story portal surfaced, which spoke about the plight of gender representation in state board textbooks. A 12th grade sociology textbook of Maharashtra State Board advocated about the reason behind the existential social evil called dowry.

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The reason mentioned in the book was that if a girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’ then her family is liable to dowry. It evokes a rationale that the girl is required to pay a ‘penalty sum’ to qualify for marriage. Does this exhibit that India is still regressive and the sub continent is not receptive to positive social growth? Is India still conforming to centuries old stereotypes and pursuing not-so-effective strategies for escaping stereotypes that show women only capable of doing menial jobs?

So, what kind of ramifications do the textbooks conforming to the gender stereotypes have? The ramifications could be aggravation in economic and social gender disparity, in which women are stereotyped to be weak, meant for menial jobs and not possessing any technical prowess. Stereotyping is also responsible for aggravation in gender-based violence and crimes against women. It’s nefarious for men as well. For instance, a man responsible for fulfilling of household chores is often seen with contempt.

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The first time this issue came into the limelight was post 2016 Nirbhaya rape case when Justice Verma committee gave a recommendation to integrate gender equality in the curriculum for inculcating an egalitarian approach. PMO asked HRD ministry to reiterate on the inclusion of moral science and value education in schools. NCERT submitted a report that analysed and examined the number of stereotypical representations of genders. For instance, women were depicted in ‘caretaking’ roles such as nurses, teachers etc. and on other hand men were depicted as engineers, shopkeepers, surgeons etc. NCERT gave some recommendations like certain terms like ‘milkman’ and ‘policeman’ were to be made gender sensitive and ownership of anything should be jointly shown. For example, instead of “man owning a shop”, it should be framed “man/woman owning a shop.

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According to 2008 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR), in India, more than half of the illustrations in Mathematics, Science and Social Science textbooks showed males, only 6 per cent of females were shown.

The educational policy makers had pledged in 1965 to eradicate all sorts of traditional concepts of female inferiority. Sadly, even after such a long span of time, no significant achievement has been accomplished to expel gender inequality from Indian society.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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“I feel I give back less than what I receive, and this disturbs me”,Amitabh Bachchan

I do know, and am intelligent enough to know my present standing and what I deserve. But when it exceeds that, I feel a discomfort.

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Amitabh Bachchan
The veteran actor was also lost in nostalgia as he recounted the old times. Pixabay

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is in Bulgaria to shoot “Brahmastra”, spared a thought about the care and concern he gets wherever he goes. But he finds it disturbing that he feels he gives back less than he gets.

In a blog post from Bulgaria, where he is enjoying the sun, Amitabh wrote: “Filmmaking from my times has undergone substantial change… Hundreds of unit and crew work assiduously on projects these days, every little detail of the making and production is looked at with such a degree of importance and a liberty it astonishes me.

“I feel guilty at times at what is on offer from the unit at times… Their care and concern, their efforts to make everything so comfortable and pleasant, all with such alacrity and love. I do know, and am intelligent enough to know my present standing and what I deserve. But when it exceeds that, I feel a discomfort.

“I feel I give back less than what I receive, and this disturbs me.”

Amitabh Bachchan
There were times in the past when prominence was shown in much the same manner. Wikimedia commons

The veteran actor was also lost in nostalgia as he recounted the old times.

“There were times in the past when prominence was shown in much the same manner. Well not to the extent it is nowadays, and I felt maybe it was justifiable. But now with diminished presence, I feel it not right. I try hard to skip past it but it catches up .. as does most things in life,” he added.

Also Read-Amitabh Bachchan Is All Set To His Compete With Actor Ranveer Singh According To His Instagram Caption

“Brahmastra” features Alia Bhatt an Ranbir Kapoor, with Nagarjuna cast in a special role. It is produced by Karan Johar and directed by Ayan Mukerji.

A trilogy, its first part will release on India’s Independence Day on August 15, 2019.(IANS)