Thursday March 21, 2019

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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Textbooks (Representational Image, Credits-, Wikimedia)

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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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)